“It’s so hard to just decode the world. And when we’re teenagers, I think that we’re wildly improvising. We’re just sort of grabbing standards of judgment, we’re grabbing values out of the air, and hoping that they fit.” –From Alisa Chang’s interview with Susan Choi on All Things Considered
Susan Choi has emerged as one of the most inventive fiction writers of the last few years. Her latest novel, Trust Exercise, won the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction, but Choi certainly isn’t a new author. Her first novel was published over 20 years ago, and her second novel was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. She has also written a collection of short stories, Wonderful Town: New York Stories, edited with David Remnick.
Trust Exercise is a must-read for anyone interested in a novel that can balance challenging subjects with entertainment value, but especially for any writer interested in social issues portrayed through narrative. Her novel begins in a performing arts high school, but midway through, breaks from a linear story structure by playing with the timeline. It’s been embraced as a #MeToo novel and lauded for its inventive structure that examines how stories are told, what happens when one’s life is written down, and how youth is remembered. Reading Trust Exercise makes the reader question who is narrating, and what voices can be trusted.
In 2019, not only did Choi publish Trust Exercise, she also released a children’s book. Readers can pick up a copy of Choi’s Camp Tiger along with their copy of Trust Exercises.
Trust Exercise has been optioned by Film Nation to be developed into a limited television series.
When Choi isn’t on her book tour, she teaches creative writing at Yale University and resides in Brooklyn, NY.