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Trust Exercise: A Novel

Trust Exercise: A Novel


Trust Exercise: A Novel

ratings:
3.5/5 (115 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 9, 2019
ISBN:
9781250318824
Format:
Audiobook

Editor's Note

National Book Award winner…

“Trust Exercise” won the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction, with judges praising author Susan Choi for “blend[ing] the intellectual rigor of post-modern technique with a story that is timely, mesmerizing, and, in the end, unsettling.” The novel upends conventional storylines in a charged exploration of deception when two students fall in love at a competitive performing arts high school in the 1980s.

Description

Trust Exercise is Pulitzer finalist Susan Choi's multi-part, narrative-upending novel, in which "the long reverberations of adolescent experience, the complexities of consent and coercion, and the inherent unreliability of narratives . . . are timeless and resonant." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

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, Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave listeners with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.

Publisher:
Released:
Apr 9, 2019
ISBN:
9781250318824
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Susan Choi was born in Indiana and grew up in Texas. Her first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the Discover Great New Writers Award at Barnes & Noble. With David Remnick, she edited an anthology of fiction entitled Wonderful Town: New York Stories from the New Yorker. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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Reviews

What people think about Trust Exercise

3.7
115 ratings / 9 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (2/5)
    Maybe a good novel for anyone who grew up in the theatre, lots of clear observations of the little violences that make up so much of what is called training. The structure of the novel is weak though, it rambles along, ending with a whimper, not a bang.
  • (3/5)
    Wow! I was prepared to stop reading during part one. Yes, I was so tempted. I wasn’t particularly drawn to the two adolescents coming of age at an arts school. That all changed when I successfully navigated through almost 150 pages and reached part 2. I was captivated. The language grew richer and more playful and I realized the exercise I had endured ( finishing part one) had real purpose so I was totally engaged until I reached part 3, brief but beyond baffling and I’m still trying to unravel all the elements. Inventive for sure, painful in parts for a payoff that served up some answers but raised more answers. Definitely worth reading but it’s not the beach book written to read throughout the stay. You will need a vacation from the story and some time to disengage!!
  • (5/5)
    Interesting book that kept me thinking. Listened to the audiobook and replayed several parts so I could catch every word.
  • (2/5)
    It wasn’t at all what I expected after reading the summary of the book. It was very difficult to read.
  • (4/5)
    It’s hard to rate this one. I really wish I could give half points because this would be a solid 3.5. I didn’t love the subject matter and almost stopped, but wanted to push through because the book has garnered so many accolades. I’m glad I finished it. I am impressed with the configuration of this book, and while I didn’t love the first part, the second part made up for it and actually made me want to go back and reread the beginning through a different lens. Choi asks some really pressing questions and emphasizes the meaning behind words a lot, which is one of my favorite things to see in writing. This tackles extremely important subject matter—sexual assault/abuse—and because of that it is a bit difficult to read and has some explicit content. Still, I took so much away from this book, and I will be thinking about it for a while, I’m sure.
  • (1/5)
    Basically a terrible book: shallow, predictable and boring. I wouldn´t waste my time on it again.
  • (5/5)

    3 people found this helpful

    This book will especially meaningful for anyone who was in a high school theatre program. The structural use of three sequential narrators adds depth and context simultaneously. Each of the three readers are excellent and the writing is well deserving of its National Book Award.

    3 people found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    The story is brilliantly written and very cleverly structured and the audio production really does it justice. Thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (4/5)

    3 people found this helpful

    I should say I divide this book in 2 parts. First part seems more like YA which does not catch me as a reader but real shift happens at the second part and it comes with adult lenses and struggles.

    3 people found this helpful