Trust Exercise

Trust Exercise

A Novel

Book - 2019
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"Electrifying" ( People ) * "Masterly" ( The Guardian ) * "Dramatic and memorable" ( The New Yorker ) * "Magic" ( TIME ) * " Ingenious" ( The Financial Times ) * "A gonzo literary performance" ( Entertainment Weekly ) * "Rare and splendid" ( The Boston Globe ) * "Remarkable" ( USA Today ) * "Delicious" ( The New York Times ) * "Book groups, meet your next selection" (NPR)

In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving "Brotherhood of the Arts," two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed--or untoyed with--by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.

The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school's walls--until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true--though it's not false, either. It takes until the book's stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place--revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.

As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Susan Choi's Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250309884
Branch Call Number: F Choi
Characteristics: 257 pages ; 25 cm


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Nov 28, 2020

I feel compelled to leave a review after reading some of these others - I believe the problem is the other readers may have given up too quickly on the novel. The story is brilliant, and has you go further through these "acts" - the story begins to unfold, leaving you with your own doubts and forcing you to piece together the true narrative. Pure genius - the story begins with this circling around a teen in an arts group, however it's the way the novel is written that is truly captivating. It holds this dramatic arts tone the entire time - and feels like you are listening to the story through the words of a theater teacher - over the top at times, but cannibalizing.

Nov 15, 2020

I wanted to like this book so bad, but the narrative didn't cohere for me, and the ending left me meh.

Oct 13, 2020

How did this book win the national book award? I got halfway through and finally gave up. The characters aren’t very interesting end it all seem kind of boring. Yes I know adolescence is a difficult time but let’s not dwell on it and we certainly don’t need to continue it into adulthood.

LPL_MaryW Aug 29, 2020

Incredible experimental fiction, as sharp as the crack of a whip. A knockout.

Aug 07, 2020

Horrible book. i read this book to fulfill the goal read a book that read in award in 2019. It was awful. absolutely awful. I repeat this is probably one of the worst books i have ever read. Obviously since it did win an award there will be people who disagree with me, but this is my opinion.

Mar 14, 2020

Barack Obama recommendation

Mar 04, 2020

This is not a comfortable read. It's salacious. For me, I struggled with nostalgia throughout. The author pinpoints the exact feelings and experiences of high school theatre (down to the RE). It's a challenging read; you will have to put pieces together. It's worth reading if you're still interested after reading reviews.

Feb 19, 2020

I actually really disliked this book, I was excited to read it because I saw it on a lot of year end lists, but was put off by the vulgar language especially to describe the actions of teenagers. I am by no means a prude, but just thought it was a bit inappropriate and it put me off to the point where I didn't even want to finish the book.

Feb 13, 2020

With the lavish reviews, the National Book Award and the hints at twists and suprises, I REALLY wanted to like this book...but I couldn't get past the first 20 pages. I didn't like the characters, there was no plot to speak of, and, most of all, the writing style struck me as overblown and pretentious - laudable in a 1-page poem, but exhausting in a novel. It's only got 3 stars on Amazon, and a lot of the reviewers there said it was definitely a "love it or hate it" book. After i hit 60 years old, I embraced Nancy Pearl's principle of not spending time on a book that doesn't grab me within the first chapter or so. Too many books, too little time!

Jan 26, 2020

I was okay with the first section. The writing was kind of exciting and witty and I thought well now here's what I wanted from Normal People and even Fates and Furies. Where the former felt kind of an obvious and simplistic teenage romance, this seemed a little offbeat and made great observations; and unlike the latter, has intricate writing but doesn't suffer the 'purple prose' problem. Choi takes these teenagers who attend a specific performing arts school in the south very seriously. Their feelings and the time and the stretch of adolescence is vivid. You take them serious, you forget they're fifteen going on sixteen. Until adults betray their trust, and their actions betray their age and the horror is there when you remember they're little kids. Choi's narration jumps around about here but generally it's well presented. But then there is another section, a gear change. Lots of people felt betrayed or frustrated by this but I don't think that's what I feel. It's just that the book as a whole lost me. It got boring and clinical. I've studied literature and I think I'm a close enough reader; I don't think it's because I didn't 'get' enough to enjoy it: Regardless of the falseness of the stories they all share a certain truth--Karen said that, didn't she, about being over the foolish idea that fiction isn't true. It's like the three stories are a babushka, and we awake from each with truthful refrains about men and power and creativity. But it almost seems too clever. This stylish trick of Choi's is disinterested in the craft of engaging the reader, in favour of the points it wants to make.

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