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 educate us classes, nor a press release of wish or melancholy, 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 war of words with American heritage and amnesia. The publication achieves extra in its short span than so much books do at thrice the length.” —Zachary Lazar, writer of I Pity the bad Immigrant
David, the narrator of Simeon Marsalis’s singular first novel, is a freshman on the collage of Vermont who's suffering to outline himself opposed to the white backdrop of his college. 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 fascinating tale than his personal. This lie haunts and nearly unhinges him as he makes an attempt to discover his precise voice and identity.
On campus in Vermont, David imagines encounters with a pupil from the earlier who may perhaps characterize both Melody’s grandfather or Jean Toomer, the writer of the acclaimed Harlem Renaissance novel Cane (1923). He turns into captivated with the forms of American structure “upon land that used to be stolen,” and with the university’s previous and attitudes as recorded in its newspaper, The Cynic. And he's pissed off with the way in which the web and libraries are curated, making it tough to discover the data he must make connections among the university’s background, African American background, and his personal life.
In ny, the former 12 months, Melody confides a stunning mystery approximately her grandfather’s pupil days on the collage of Vermont. while she and her father collude with the reason to fulfill David’s mom in Harlem—craving what they think about an actual adventure of the black world—their plan ends explosively. The identify of this notable and emotionally strong novel is electrified by means 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