Trust Exercise: A Novel

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In Trust Exercise, Susan Choi deftly paints a picture of a performing arts high school in the early 1980s. Choi documents the struggles and tensions of acting student Sarah, following her romantic trials with fellow student David and the complex nature of her relationship to her classmates and the adults in her life, from her teacher Mr. Kingsley to the British actors who visit her school to put on a production of Candide. Every agonizing moment of high school and coming-of-age is communicated with painstaking detail and perfect clarity.

This realism is triumphant, but so too is the novel’s dealing with questions of storytelling and narrative, which surprisingly emerges in full force halfway through the novel. In a structural twist, Choi prompts the reader to reconsider the story told in the first half of the book, enriching an already effective novel with further layers of complexity. The novel becomes not just the story of a girl in a high school but a meditation on the tension between reality and fiction, a consideration of the consequences of the decisions we make about the way to tell others’ stories and our own.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher Henry Holt and Co.
Publish Date 2019-04-09
ISBN 9781250309884 Buy this Book
Issue May 2019
Category Modern Literature


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