Book: Kind One (Laird Hunt)

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Kind One: A Novel

Author: Laird Hunt
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Publisher: Coffee House Press

As a teenage girl, Ginny marries Linus Lancaster, her mother’s second cousin, and moves to his Kentucky pig farm “ninety miles from nowhere.” In the shadows of the lush Kentucky landscape, Ginny discovers the empty promises of Linus’ “paradise”—a place where the charms of her husband fall away to reveal a troubled man and cruel slave owner. Ginny befriends the young slaves Cleome and Zinnia who work at the farm—until Linus’ attentions turn to them, and she finds herself torn between her husband and only companions. The events that follow Linus’ death change all three women for life.

Haunting, chilling, and suspenseful, Kind One is a powerful tale of redemption and human endurance in antebellum America.

“There is always a surprise in the voice and in the heart of Laird Hunt’s stories—with its echoes of habit caught in a timeless dialect, so we see the world he gives us as if new. ‘You hear something like that and it walks out the door with you.’” —Michael Ondaatje

“Laird Hunt’s Kind One, about two slave girls who take their white mistress into captivity, is a profound meditation on the sexual and racial subconscious of America. Nothing is sacred here. Savagery begets savagery. Women commit unspeakable violence, wives are complicit in their husband’s crimes, slave girls learn to be as cold and brutal as the masters who have raped and whipped them. Of course the center cannot hold. We watch it crumble with breath held, skin tingling, in this gorgeous and terrifying novel.” —Danzy Senna, author of Caucasia

“Opening with a prologue in the form of an extraordinarily beautiful meditation on loss, Hunt’s writing deepens into allegory, symbolism and metaphor, all while spinning forth a dark tale of abuse, incest and corruption reminiscent of Faulkner…Profoundly imaginative, strikingly original, deeply moving.” Kirkus, starred review

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