By Simeon Marsalis

Shortlisted for the 2017 heart for Fiction First Novel Prize

“Simeon Marsalis’s As Lie Is to Grin isn't really a satire intended to educate us classes, nor a press release of wish or depression, yet anything extra visionary—a portrait of a tender man’s unraveling, an outline of ways race shapes and deforms us, a coming-of-age tale that also is a disagreement with American background and amnesia. The booklet achieves extra in its short span than such a lot books do at thrice the length.” —Zachary Lazar, writer of I Pity the negative Immigrant

David, the narrator of Simeon Marsalis’s singular first novel, is a freshman on the college of Vermont who's suffering to outline himself opposed to the white backdrop of his institution. he's additionally mourning the lack of his ny female friend, whose grandfather’s alma mater he has selected to wait. whilst David met Melody, he lied to her approximately who he was once and the place he lived, making a extra exciting tale than his personal. This lie haunts and virtually unhinges him as he makes an attempt to discover his actual voice and identity.

On campus in Vermont, David imagines encounters with a pupil from the previous who may symbolize both Melody’s grandfather or Jean Toomer, the writer of the acclaimed Harlem Renaissance novel Cane (1923). He turns into captivated with the sorts of American structure “upon land that was once stolen,” and with the university’s earlier and attitudes as recorded in its newspaper, The Cynic. And he's pissed off with the best way the web and libraries are curated, making it tough to discover the knowledge he must make connections among the university’s heritage, African American heritage, and his personal life.

In ny, the former yr, Melody confides a stunning mystery approximately her grandfather’s scholar days on the collage of Vermont. whilst she and her father collude with the rationale to satisfy David’s mom in Harlem—craving what they give thought to an real event of the black world—their plan ends explosively. The identify of this awesome and emotionally strong novel is galvanized by way of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “We put on the masks” (1896): “We put on the masks that grins and lies . . .”

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As Lie Is to Grin: A Novel by Simeon Marsalis


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