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Trust Exercise

af Susan Choi

Andre forfattere: Se andre forfattere sektionen.

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
6455326,685 (3.19)36
WINNER OF THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION NATIONAL BESTSELLER "Electrifying" (People)* "Masterly" (The Guardian)* "Dramatic and memorable" (The New Yorker)* "Magic" (TIME)*"Ingenious" (The Financial Times)* "A gonzo literary performance" (Entertainment Weekly)* "Rare and splendid" (The Boston Globe)* "Remarkable" (USA Today)*"Delicious" (The New York Times)* "Book groups, meet your next selection" (NPR) 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. When within this striving "Brotherhood of the Arts," two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed--or untoyed with--by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley. 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. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true--though it's not false, either. It takes until the book's stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place--revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence. As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Susan Choi'sTrust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.… (mere)
  1. 00
    Afterworlds af Scott Westerfeld (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: Two authors' intense commitments to metafiction.
  2. 00
    Fates and Furies af Lauren Groff (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: ...and then, halfway through, we discover that all is not as it seems.
  3. 00
    Pale Fire af Vladimir Nabokov (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: Choi follows in Nabokov's footsteps here with some gutsy, unflinching, open-ended metafiction. In both cases - trying to avoid spoilers here - there is a piece of writing, mysteriously incomplete, and much of the rest of the text is by someone who claims to have been a close friend of the author. But there are some pretty weird things going on slightly below the surface, and it's clear that some kind of big traumatic event has loomed over the whole thing. A considerable amount of room for interpretation ensues.… (mere)
  4. 00
    The Rehearsal af Eleanor Catton (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: Note: I acknowledge that a LibraryThing reviewer who read Choi's book before I did has also pointed out the similarity here.
  5. 00
    Bellevue Square af Michael Redhill (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: Twisty, sly, well-constructed metafiction that rewards rereading.
Indlæser...

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» Se også 36 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 53 (næste | vis alle)
One’s memory can be a finicky thing. We sometimes have such a clear version in our heads of a certain person, place or thing, yet someone else who witnessed this same event could have a completely different experience than us. In this instance, who is more trustworthy? Both, or neither? How do we come to this conclusion?⁣
These questions could be debated all day long, and I don’t want to give too much away about the plot of this novel; the less you know the better the impact. ⁣
We are introduced to a performing arts school in the south in the mid 1980’s. We get to meet several students in the same class and we’re there with them as they grow up, fall in love, and discover their dreams. Their theatre teacher is quirky and brash and is reminiscent of other theatre teachers from movies and TV shows centered around performing arts. Towards the middle of the book there is a time jump to the late 90’s, and it is here that our students begin to question their memories of their beloved high school days. ⁣
Growing up and having a love of dance and theatre, I had always dreamed of attending a school like this. I saw in certain characters high school friends of mine who shared our ambition to escape our small town and live a bigger life, the outcasts and dreamers. ⁣
I will say this book might not be for everyone; it makes you work. It does contain little dialogue and lengthy descriptive paragraphs. Fans of experimental fiction will enjoy this novel ( )
  brookiexlicious | May 9, 2021 |
This was a confusing look at relationships in the twenty-first century. Centered around the titular activity the narration changes from section to section in a way that seems quite postmodern. I read the author's American Woman, based on real events, more than a year ago and found this, her latest novel, was more effective in spite of, or perhaps because of, being more unconventional. More loosely inspired by some actual places and events, it comes across as a deliberate demonstration of the possibilities in fiction, from shifting and unreliable narrator to viscerally real characters living lives that change in ways that are both weird and wonderful.

Events at the CAPA(Citywide Academy for the Performing Arts) involve students in love with each other while at the same time being challenged by a overbearing teacher in trust exercises that border on harassment. I'm not sure I would have survived in that environment.

After the first section, which follows Sarah through her sophomore year, we shift into the perspective of Karen, one of Sarah’s classmates. “Karen” – whose name is not really Karen – informs us that for the first hundred or so pages, we’ve been reading a novel written by “Sarah” (whose name is not truly Sarah). Now an adult, not only is Karen utterly dissatisfied with her erasure from the story that plays out in Sarah’s semi-autobiographical novel, she’s also armed with her own version of the events of that year.

Through it all you learn more about the subsequent lives of some of the students which includes surprising twists. In spite of some realistic detail, the over-the-top nature of some of the students' activities is hard to accept. I'll give the author a high rating for imagination, but the structure and execution of the story at times left me wondering what the author intended.

Winner of the National Book Award for fiction in 2019, Trust Exercise is a stunning study of the increasingly muddied line between fact and fiction, the power of the stories we tell ourselves and the consequences of the inherent distortions of memory. ( )
  jwhenderson | Mar 25, 2021 |
“That whole thing about fiction not being the truth is a lie.”


Trust Exercise starts in 1982 in a southern city that is probably Houston, although it is never stated. The book is divided into three sections, the first two containing alternate versions of the same story. The third section, which is a short conclusion, leaves the reader wondering whether all of the dots have been connected properly. Sarah is the narrator of the first part of this novel, and although she is presumably omniscient, we learn that Sarah’s version of the story leaves lots of room for interpretation. It turns out that part one is a story within a story, a fictional book written by Sarah. Her high school best friend’s view makes us wonder about much of what Sarah has described and fills in some disturbing plot points.

Sarah, David, Karen, and a host of other characters are sophomores at CAPA, the Citywide Academy for Performing Arts, an elite high school for students serious about acting. Mr. Kingsley, their drama teacher, is eccentric, charismatic, nurturing, and gay. The students are enamored with him and realize that they must impress Mr. Kingsley and stay in his good graces if they hope to land roles in the performances and graduate high school as bona fide actors. His teaching style is not conventional and a little ruthless. His many trust exercises, which is one aspect of the title’s significance, force his young students into uncomfortable and sometimes humiliating positions. It seems that as a passionate actor, he wants his impressionable students to realize that they are always playing roles, and there is a fine line between real life and acting. However, he has boundary issues, gets overly involved in his students' personal lives, and abuses his power as a teacher. He is a predator, and since he has gained his students' trust through intense and impactful teaching exercises, his actions lead to serious damage to the psyches of his young charges.

The novel’s structure is unusual and leaves the reader with an incomplete picture of what transpired during the high school years of Sarah, David, and Karen. Through some of the events in the second part of the story, readers will wonder how many different people Sarah based her main characters’ experiences. Regardless of “who was who,” there are strong themes throughout the book that are so apropos for modern times. More than one teacher engages in sexual activity with students and violates the trust associated with teaching positions. While reading, one must consider whether teenagers should trust their teachers to protect and guide them. The parental role in trusting teachers is explored, and when families and schools might consider youngsters old enough to make critical decisions. According to law, those under eighteen years of age are still children. Even though some teenagers are mature and are playing adult roles at work and school activities, such as theater, one has to wonder when to preserve childhood innocence. As the title suggests, exercising trust is not simple.

Additionally, Susan Choi’s story has much to say about friendships, not only during high school but also how those relationships forever affect our memories. She examines the concepts of memory and obsession, and the reader becomes painfully aware of how the same memories are viewed differently by an assortment of influencers in life. The betrayals experienced early in human development have the power to influence adult lifestyle choices. Predation, described from numerous angles, is the dark side of this book and is an element of culture that is not always recognized for what it is.

( )
  LindaLoretz | Mar 15, 2021 |
There are a lot of good things about this novel, most importantly the prose. Vivid and poetic, it's full of phrases and sentences that jump out and grab the reader. Characterization is strong as well, though ambiguity features prominently. You may not like most of the characters -- I didn't -- but they are sharply drawn and (in a few cases) emotionally engaging. But as the novel progresses, the characters turn into figures in a guessing game; who's real, who's made up, and who is who. The structure was the most difficult for me. The fairly clearcut highschool novel of the first section morphs into something a lot more complex. I enjoyed the book, but was unsatisfied at the end -- too many unanswered questions. ( )
  annbury | Feb 20, 2021 |
I didn't enjoy the structure or theme (men in power abusing young women) of this book. I found the book difficult to read or understand and the ending very confusing. Not my cup of tea. ( )
  tinkerbellkk | Jan 25, 2021 |
Viser 1-5 af 53 (næste | vis alle)
The reward of Trust Exercise is the way in which this novel asks to be read: not necessarily with suspicion, but with attention to the process of sorting significant from insignificant details; attention to what information you need in order to consider a certain version of the truth authoritative.
 
Perhaps the title itself is meant in an ironic sense but reading a novel is a sort of trust exercise in itself, the trust that the reader has in the writer to convince us that something that never happened actually did, and when our faith in the story is betrayed, the novel itself becomes damaged.
 
Trust Exercise is marketed, accurately, as a #MeToo novel, and it shows with painful rawness how much damage can be wrought without anyone realising they are the victim. But this designation doesn’t capture the complexity of Choi’s investigation into human relations. What she’s done, magisterially, is to take the issues raised by #MeToo and show them as inextricable from more universal questions about taking a major role in someone else’s life, while knowing that we’re offering only a minor part in return.
 
The entire structure of the novel folds in on itself like a piece of origami, and what emerges is something sharp-edged and prickly: a narrative propelled by white-hot rage and the desire for revenge.
 
And so what we’re left with, in the end, is fragments of testimony, each colored by its own particular kind of trauma, its own distorted perspective. And yet it’s possible to see all these elements independently and take away some kind of abiding reality that supersedes them all.
 

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WINNER OF THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION NATIONAL BESTSELLER "Electrifying" (People)* "Masterly" (The Guardian)* "Dramatic and memorable" (The New Yorker)* "Magic" (TIME)*"Ingenious" (The Financial Times)* "A gonzo literary performance" (Entertainment Weekly)* "Rare and splendid" (The Boston Globe)* "Remarkable" (USA Today)*"Delicious" (The New York Times)* "Book groups, meet your next selection" (NPR) 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. When within this striving "Brotherhood of the Arts," two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed--or untoyed with--by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley. 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. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true--though it's not false, either. It takes until the book's stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place--revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence. As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Susan Choi'sTrust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.

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