Trust Exercise: A Novel
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.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Page Count||272 pages|
|Publisher||Henry Holt and Co.|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|