By Simeon Marsalis
Shortlisted for the 2017 middle for Fiction First Novel Prize
“Simeon Marsalis’s As Lie Is to Grin isn't really a satire intended to coach us classes, nor a press release of desire or depression, yet whatever 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 heritage and amnesia. The ebook achieves extra in its short span than such a lot books do at 3 times 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 university. he's additionally mourning the lack of his big apple 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 fascinating 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 earlier who may characterize both Melody’s grandfather or Jean Toomer, the writer of the acclaimed Harlem Renaissance novel Cane (1923). He turns into enthusiastic about the forms of American structure “upon land that used to be stolen,” and with the university’s earlier and attitudes as recorded in its newspaper, The Cynic. And he's annoyed with the way in which the net and libraries are curated, making it tough to discover the data he must make connections among the university’s historical past, African American historical past, and his personal life.
In long island, the former 12 months, Melody confides a surprising mystery approximately her grandfather’s scholar days on the collage of Vermont. whilst she and her father collude with the motive to fulfill David’s mom in Harlem—craving what they think about an genuine adventure of the black world—their plan ends explosively. The name of this notable and emotionally strong novel is galvanized through 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