“Thoughts are often false. A feeling’s always real. Not true, just real.”
SUSAN CHOI, TRUST EXERCISE
The author of five novels, Susan Choi won the 2019 National Book Award for Trust Exercise, an ingenious meditation on fiction and truth, friendships and loyalties, the capacities of adolescents, and the powers of adults.
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. 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.
Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian American Literary Award for fiction. Her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize and was adapted into a film. A Person of Interest was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2010, Choi was named the inaugural recipient of the PEN/W. G. Sebald Award. Her fourth novel, My Education, received a 2014 Lammy Award.
The New York Times, November 2019
Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast from LitHub, January 2020
Harper’s Magazine, January 2020
The Whale Mother, by Susan Choi
“Book groups, meet your next selection… . Trust Exercise is fiction that contains multiple truths and lies. Working with such common material, Choi has produced something uncommonly thought-provoking.”