Mislaid

Mislaid

eBook - 2015
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From the inimitable and utterly unconventional voice of Nell Zink comes a wickedly humorous and sharply observed novel that exposes all of our assumptions about race and racism, sexuality and desire, through the making and unmaking of one American family.In 1960s Virginia, college freshman and ingenue Peggy falls for professor and poet Lee, and what begins as an ill-advised affair results in an unplanned pregnancy and marriage. Mismatched from the start?she's a lesbian; he's gay?Peggy eventually finds herself in crisis and runs away with their daughter, leaving their son behind.Estranged from the rest of the family, Peggy and her daughter adopt African American identities and live in near poverty to escape detection. Meanwhile, Lee and his son carry on, enjoying all the social privileges their gender, class, and whiteness afford them. Eventually the long-lost siblings meet, setting off a series of misunderstandings that culminate in a darkly comedic finale worthy of Shakespeare.With an arch sense of humor and a witty satirical eye, Nell Zink upends the foundational categories of American life?race, class, gender, and sexuality?in a novel that is at once daring, envelope-pushing, and utterly hilarious, all the while tracing how a mother, daughter, father, and son figure out what it means to belong.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Ecco,, 2015.
ISBN: 9780008100568
000810056X
9780062364791
0062364790
9780062364777
0062364774
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Summary: From the inimitable and utterly unconventional voice of Nell Zink comes a wickedly humorous and sharply observed novel that exposes all of our assumptions about race and racism, sexuality and desire, through the making and unmaking of one American family.In 1960s Virginia, college freshman and ingenue Peggy falls for professor and poet Lee, and what begins as an ill-advised affair results in an unplanned pregnancy and marriage. Mismatched from the start?she's a lesbian; he's gay?Peggy eventually finds herself in crisis and runs away with their daughter, leaving their son behind.Estranged from the rest of the family, Peggy and her daughter adopt African American identities and live in near poverty to escape detection. Meanwhile, Lee and his son carry on, enjoying all the social privileges their gender, class, and whiteness afford them. Eventually the long-lost siblings meet, setting off a series of misunderstandings that culminate in a darkly comedic finale worthy of Shakespeare.With an arch sense of humor and a witty satirical eye, Nell Zink upends the foundational categories of American life?race, class, gender, and sexuality?in a novel that is at once daring, envelope-pushing, and utterly hilarious, all the while tracing how a mother, daughter, father, and son figure out what it means to belong.

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healthy20
Jul 29, 2016

Was supposed to be tongue in cheek, but I evidently did not have the same cheek.

l
llwboston
Feb 06, 2016

The book tells the story of youth from multiple generations, and illustrates how the impulsive choices of young people can have dire and lifelong impact. Nell Zink is very gifted at weaving many narrative threads together and creating diverse, vibrant and wholly believable characters and a sense of how the South changed in the late 20th century. At first I was immediately drawn in by Peggy’s story, but as the book went on I found the judgmental tone of the narrator (sometimes directly telling the reader how to feel) to severely impede my enjoyment. The tone of the book changes and becomes more broadly satirical in the last third or so. In fact it began to remind me of two books, Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, that both also had multiple “culture clash” storylines and satirized contemporary life. Both “Mislaid” and “White Teeth” have tidy happy-ish endings that were somewhat unconvincing. In “Mislaid” so many characters have suffered for years due to one another’s bad decisions,that the final group-wide reconciliation seemed unrealistic.

r
Rock_Shadow
Oct 07, 2015

A good satire on education, college admissions, gays and lesbians, racism, poverty, drugs, living in rural Virginia, guilt and innocence, and rich white people getting away with anything. Easy fun read in the early part of the novel, then if fizzles away. Still a worthy effort of an upcoming young writer.

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Marlowe Jul 02, 2016

This was fantastic. Much in the same vein as Jonathan Franzen and Don Delillo, but lighter and sharper. Zink offers up the most dysfunctional family, with absurd choices and plenty of social commentary. Smart and funny, a highly recommended read!

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