Yes, I did cover this but already but an impressive New Yorker profile is on the stands just as the book is landing. Check it out. I don’t think you want to miss this one.
“’Irreverent,’ that prose-friendly adjective, does not come close. White writers seldom laugh about race—or, for that matter, write about it. But Zink, who has the courage of her convictions and the buffer of the Atlantic Ocean, creates in Mislaid a high comedy of racial identity: ‘The Human Stain,’ backward, by David Sedaris. That makes the book a rarity on at least two fronts, because the shortage of smart new novels about race has nothing on the shortage of genuinely funny literary fiction. But Zink is a comic writer par excellence, one whose particular gift is the capacity to keep a perfectly straight face. ‘The Supreme Court had invalidated one segregation scheme after another, no matter how well it worked’: over and over, she deadpans her way through lines like that, not to mention through the entire antic setup of Mislaid.
“The result is a hoot, a lark—all those bird words. But it is also deadly smart. Zink writes about the big stuff: the travesty of American apartheid; the sexual, economic, and intellectual status of women; the ephemerality of desire and its enduring consequences. We think of being deadpan as playing it straight during comic episodes, but Zink stays deadpan through everything—through outlandishness, anger, injustice, grief. Both that voice and the stories Zink tells are so startling, so seemingly without antecedent, that she would seem like an outsider artist, if she did not betray so much casual erudition.”
—The New Yorker (read the complete profile here)
And more bookseller praise:
“Zink’s scalding critique of American culture is wrapped in beguiling prose that seduces the reader from the opening paragraph of this very funny novel. Lesbians sleep with gay men, white children become black and a family steeped in upper middle class mores ends up in the backwoods of Virginia in Zink’s world. Rarely has a novelist laid America so bare. For my money, this is a masterpiece.”
— Arsen Kashkashian, Boulder Book Store, Boulder CO
Mislaid (9780062364777) by Nell Zink. $26.99 hardcover. 5/19/15 on sale.