A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that...Read More
A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.
But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.
With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the stickiness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone family, and the complicated reality of being a grown up. It is a searing debut for our times.
Patricia Engel is the author of The Veins of the Ocean, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; It's Not Love, It's Just Paris, winner of the International Latino Book Award; and Vida, a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway and Young Lions Fiction Awards, New York Times Notable Book, and winner of Colombia's national book award, the Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her stories appear in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. Born to Colombian parents, Patricia teaches creative writing at the University of Miami.book.
"Reid's debut sparkles with sharp observations and perfect details--food, décor, clothes, social media, etc.--and she's a dialogue genius.. . . Her evenhandedness with her varied cast of characters is impressive.. . . Charming, challenging, and so interesting you can hardly put it down." - Kirkus Reviews
"In her debut novel, Reid illuminates difficult truths about race, society, and power with a fresh, light hand. We're all familiar with the phrases white privilege and race relations, but rarely has a book vivified these terms in such a lucid, absorbing, graceful, forceful, but unforced way." - Library Journal
"Reid crafts a nuanced portrait of a young black woman struggling to define herself apart from the white people in her life who are all too ready to speak and act on her behalf....Reid excels at depicting subtle variations and manifestations of self-doubt, and astutely illustrates how, when coupled with unrecognized white privilege, this emotional and professional insecurity can result in unintended--as well as willfully unseen--consequences. This is an impressive, memorable first outing." - Publishers Weekly
"In her smart and timely debut, Reid has her finder solidly on the pulse of the pressures and ironies inherent in social media, privilege, modern parenting, racial tension, and political correctness." - Booklist
"Reid is a sharp and delightful storyteller, with a keen eye, buoyant prose, and twists that made me gasp out loud. Such a Fun Age is a gripping page-turner with serious things to say about racism, class, gender, parenting, and privilege in modern America." - Madeline Miller, author of Circe
"A complex, layered page-turner...This is a book that will read, I suspect, quite differently to various audiences--funny to some, deeply uncomfortable and shamefully recognizable to others--but whatever the experience, I urge you to read Such a Fun Age. Let its empathetic approach to even the ickiest characters stir you, allow yourself to share Emira's millennial anxieties about adulting, take joy in the innocence of Briar's still-unmarred personhood, and rejoice that Kiley Reid is only just getting started." - NPR
"Kiley Reid has written the most provocative page-turner of the year....[ Such a Fun Age] nestl[es] a nuanced take on racial biases and class divides into a page-turning saga of betrayals, twists, and perfectly awkward relationships....The novel feels bound for book-club glory, due to its sheer readability. The dialogue crackles with naturalistic flair. The plotting is breezy and surprising. Plus, while Reid's feel for both the funny and the political is undeniable, she imbues her flawed heroes with real heart." - Entertainment Weekly
"Lively...[A] carefully observed study of class and race, whose portrait of white urban affluence--Everlane sweaters, pseudo-feminist babble--is especially pointed. Attempting to navigate the white conscience in the age of Black Lives Matter, Reid unsparingly maps the moments when good intentions founder." - The New Yorker
"Such a Fun Age is blessedly free of preaching, but if Reid has an ethos, it's attention: the attention Emira pays to who Briar really is, and the attention that Alix fails to pay to Emira, instead spending her time thinking about her....The novel is often funny and always acute, but never savage; Reid is too fascinated by how human beings work to tear them apart. All great novelists are great listeners, and Such a Fun Age marks the debut of an extraordinarily gifted one." - Slate
"[A] hilarious, uncomfortable and compulsively readable story about race and class." - TIME
"[A] funny, fast-paced social satire about privilege in America...Beneath her comedy of good intentions, [Reid] stages a Millennial bildungsroman that is likely to resonate with 20-something postgraduates scrambling to get launched in just about any American city." - The Atlantic
"Provocative...Surprisingly resonant insights into the casual racism in everyday life, especially in the America of the liberal elite." - The New York Times Book Review