Susan Choi: Trust Exercise (2019)

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Susan Choi: Trust Exercise (2019)

Post by jserraglio » Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:48 am

Trust Exercise is the fifth and latest novel I've read by Susan Choi. It well deserved the 2019 National Book Award, though my favorite story of hers about trust and betrayal of trust is still My Education (2013).

As in My Education, there are two narrators (fifteen-year-old Sarah and an unnamed woman, aka "Karen") and two narrations, each of them quite different in style.

The first narrative Choi sets in the third person (it is Sarah's story as that vulnerable 15-year-old, we find out later) plays to one of Choi's strengths (found earlier in My Education): a heart-wrenching description of a young woman obsessively in love, it seems, with David, a boy with a very different agenda.

Does anybody else today write about first love as the panicked need for external affirmation as convincingly as Susan Choi?

The second narrative, Karen's, is quite another matter--adult, cold and ostensibly objective. In it we see the manipulative Sarah and the other trust violators (David, Martin, Mr. Kingsley, etc.) as they really are (supposedly).

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