Mislaid

Nell Zink

Virginia, 1966. The motionless deeps of the lake outside Stillwater College are being ruffled. Lee, a blue-blooded poet and professor, is determinedly fondling Peggy, an ingénue freshman with literary pretensions, in his canoe. So begins a long affair but the two are mismatched from the start.

The story that follows rocks the boat in every sense. Nell Zink’s hugely entertaining, totally unique Mislaid explodes the nuclear family and topples every foundation of identity – black and white, gay and straight, “normal” and very very strange…

Reviews of Mislaid

  • ‘Mislaid is that oft-discussed, rarely spotted phenomenon – a Great American Novel. It catapults Zink straight into the company of not only Franzen, but also Donna Tartt and Philip Roth, Tom Wolfe and John Irving. Zink takes her big-name predecessors in her stride and goes that bit weirder … An extraordinary talent’ Daily Telegraph

    ‘One of the most exciting debut novels that will be published this year’ Guardian

    ‘A bold new take on the classic mistaken identity plot … Crazy as it is, Mislaid is also an ambitious and tightly plotted novel, a welcome successor to her dazzling debut The Wallcreeper … Her novels are two of the most audacious and exciting I’ve read in a long time’ Independent

    ‘Delicious … Franzen might be right on this writer: Zink has written two books both worth talking about in the best salons in town, which will unsettle them in turn.’ Independent on Sunday

    ‘Zink appears to have sprung fully-formed on to the page, her narrative voice laconic and scalpel-sharp, and often shockingly funny in its dry asides and understatements … Mislaid marks the arrival of an unusual and original talent, one fearless in her approach to language and subject. Where she goes next is anyone’s guess, but it will surely defy expectations’ Observer

    ‘Happily for the reader, the hype is matched by the quality and originality of Zink’s writing … Direct, provocative and self-knowing… Things are never as they seem in Mislaid, a unique romp of a book that takes centuries’ worth of confines and stereotypes and turns them inside out’ Irish Times

    ‘The novel’s charm and intelligence run deep. It’s a provocative masquerade with heart, not just an exercise in role reversals, reminding us that the gaps and cracks between our insides and our outsides are the spaces where our spirits live’ New York Times Book Review

    ‘A high comedy of racial identity … Zink is a comic writer par excellence’ New Yorker

    ‘Funny, sexy and daring’ Charlotte Mendelson, Observer