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…
Interlaken, Berne, 21st century. Several things happen after the car hits the rock. Tiff ceases to be pregnant. Stephen captures, like, the most wonderful bird – fleet, stealthy, and beautiful – a real “lifer”. And the wallcreeper, the wallcreeper says “twee”.
The Wallcreeper is nothing more than a portrait of marriage, complete with all its requisite highs and lows: drugs, dubstep, small chores, anal sex, eco-terrorism, birding, breeding and feeding.
Reviews of Mislaid & The Wallcreeper
‘Zink is hilarious and cracklingly smart, and she takes the kind of risks that a novelist is supposed to take’ Jonathan Franzen
‘Two of the most audacious and exciting novels I’ve read in a long time’ Independent
‘Prodigiously intelligent and odd … Zink’s work is not tender, elegant, disciplined or classically proportioned, but it is clever, fierce, striking and original. So much so that it makes tender, elegant and so on look quite dull’ Guardian
‘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
‘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’ Daily Telegraph
‘One of the most exciting debut novels that will be published this year’ Guardian
‘The novel’s charm and intelligence run deep. It’s a provocative masquerade with heart, 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
‘A talent that is as rare and strange as a kestrel on Oxford Street . . . A slim, strange masterpiece, and one of those alluring, elliptical, exceptional novels that I will want to keep rereading for the rest of my life’ The Sunday Times
‘The best book of 2014 … Every page is an angular masterpiece’ Dazed
‘An instrument of delight, an offering of kinship. Like its namesake, The Wallcreeper is fleet, stealthy and beautiful. It’s a lifer indeed’ New York Times
‘Heady and rambunctious … I’ll pay it the highest compliment it knows – this book is a wild thing’ New York Times
‘A work of bizarre brilliance’ New Statesman