Kind One

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Product Details
$14.95  $13.90
Coffee House Press
Publish Date
5.0 X 7.4 X 0.7 inches | 0.55 pounds
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About the Author
Laird Hunt is the author of four novels, The Impossibly, Indiana, Indiana, The Exquisite, and Ray of the Star, and a book of short stories, histories, and parables, The Paris Stories. His writings, reviews and translations have appeared in McSweeney's, Ploughshares, Bomb, Bookforum, Grand Street, The Believer, Fence, Conjunctions, Brick, Mentor, Inculte, and Zoum Zoum. Currently on faculty in the University of Denver's Creative Writing Program, he and his wife, the poet Eleni Sikelianos, live in Boulder, Colorado, with their daughter, Eva Grace.

"This compact but reverberant 19th-century tale tracks a circle of hard-luck souls whose collective tears could fill a dry well . . . Hunt passes the narration among the principle characters in woozily nonlinear fashion, lending a range of textures to this antebellum melodrama."--The New York Times Book Review "Fiction Chronicle"

"[Kind One] contains the sort of story that needs to be experienced directly . . . you should get a hold of a copy and read it for yourself as soon as you can."--Andrew Wille

"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

"[I]t is as devastating a piece of writing as anything one is likely to find in contemporary literature."--Contemporary Review of Fiction

"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

"[A]n unforgettable tale of the savagery of antebellum America . . . Hunt deftly maintains an unsettling tone and a compelling narrative that will linger with readers long after the last page." --Publishers Weekly

"In Laird Hunt's Kind One, he provocatively examines the complicity of white women in the shame of slavery. . . . The novel reveals how slavery was so pernicious as to make criminals of everyone who owned slaves, and how redemption is rarely a neatly contained process."--Refinery 29

"Hunt is being recognized for his 2012 novel Kind One, a rich, piercing novel that follows the profoundly complex and difficult life of young slaves in antebellum Kentucky."--Denver Post

"Laird Hunt's Kind One provides readers with a view of a 19th-century dysfunctional family -- and it makes anything you see on reality TV look tame." --South Bend Tribune

"[A] study in the perpetuation of violence, the lasting impact of abuse, the damage subjugation can inflict on the individual and society, and the potential for redemption through forgiveness."--ForeWord

"Hunt has an ear for dialect, and the story itself reads like Faulkner mixed with Raymond Carver, while remaining recognizably Hunt's own. The reckonings that Hunt's characters face, as they do in so many of his novels, will reverberate in the reader's memory long after Kind One."--Shelf Awareness

"Laird Hunt's Kind One is a mesmerizing novel of sin and expiation that plumbs the depths of human depravity and despair, yet hints at the possibility of redemption . . . [O]ne that will resonate long after you turn its last page."--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Kind One is an inventive and purposefully complicated novel, a novel that twists and dives in and out of and through time and the lives of these men and women, a novel that is both a ghostly tribute to and an indemnification of what went before. Laird Hunt has written a masterpiece of haunt, a balanced and jarring book that takes all we know of the south, down to its most innocent elements, down even to the daisies of the fields, and creates their scarred histories anew."--The Rumpus

"In taut, hypnotic chapters that loop forward and back in time, Hunt interweaves dreams, African folktales and elements of Shakespeare to deliver half-seen glimpses of the past, narrated by Ginny and several characters whose lives have intersected in the past."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fall Books Round-up

"Laird Hunt's novel Kind One is as powerful and dark a novel I have read all year, a book as exquisitely written as it is haunting."--Largehearted Boy

"As I read the book, I found myself frequently having to pause after passages--some gruesome, some hinting at gruesomeness--to catch my breath . . . Hunt's lovely prose shines a light into some very dark places."--The Cedar Rapids Gazette

"This is a story of reckoning and redemption and Kind One is told so artfully and so uniquely that the novel is well worth the read."--The Rumpus, Roxanne Gay's Reading Roundup

"Kind One is a major achievement for Hunt. . . in its study of the perpetuation of violence, it calls to mind Faulkner's structures by way of Albert Camus and the dark dreamscapes of Jean Cocteau."--Cleveland Plain Dealer

"[Kind One is] Laird Hunt's haunting meditation on the crushing legacy of slavery in the American South . . . Yet the book's small acts of kindness and mercy--bright beacons in the night--never go out, shining their faint light on the endurance of the human spirit."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"[W]hat puts Kind One firmly in the category of good Southern writing . . . is its quietly gripping language. Hunt is a writer who, to steal a phrase from Allan Gurganus, is 'still loyal at the level of the sentence.'"--Oxford American

"[Kind One is] minimal, immersive, and utterly compelling. Hunt never lets the reader get distracted or lets the intensity become diffused. For the real subject here is violence--violence that manifests itself as a Lear-like rage against Life itself."--Vertigo

"If you like beautiful sentences, you'll probably enjoy Kind One." --The Stranger

"Laird Hunt's fiction lends an ominous tint to the familiar . . . [his] penchant for the ambiguous, the divergent, and the unsettling can flourish when rooted in American history."--Los Angeles Review of Books, "Post Pulp Spaces: On Laird Hunt" by Tobias Carroll

"[I]n Hunt's detailed characters and prose (so beautiful as to seem otherworldly), the many folds of human relationships unravel, turn back on themselves, make new shapes, and tell of the bonds, tainted or not, all travelers eventually form while on their ways."--Books Matter

"In Laird Hunt's provocative new novel Kind One . . . [Hunt] managed to create a novel that upends what we expect from slavery narratives."--Bookforum, Roxane Gay interview with Hunt

"Laird Hunt is one of the more criminally overlooked novelists writing today, and this is probably the most accessible and completely realized of his books."--Time Out New York, "Best (and worst) books of 2012"

"The voices that gradually reveal the story--of the naive girl who collaborates with her brutal husband--are by turn lyrical and savage, piecing together a nuanced exploration of guilt and forgiveness."--The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "A Year in Reading: The best of the South in 2012"

"Slavery in the South seems like an exhausted subject, but Laird Hunt's Kind One feels fresh."--Green Mountain Review

"An investigation into a dark corner of history, a narrative that splinters and echoes, a structure at once fabular and recursive: all lead us into Laird Hunt's novel Kind One. Hunt's exploration of slavery in the U.S. . . . involves inevitable deconstructions of identity and power, revealing the ways in which each engenders the other in a construction we call history."--Quarterly West

"I read Kind One for the first time last November, and when I finished, I was sure of three things: it was a book to read again and again, Hunt was a name I'd scan for in bookstores, and Kind One could be the basis of a fine film."--The Quarterly Conversation

"'It is risky, ' Hunt says, 'A white man, writing the story of a white woman, embroiled in the world of slavery.' It is perhaps for just that reason that the Boulder author's latest is worth picking up."--5280, The Denver Magazine

"Hunt's skill as a storyteller is staggering. . . . His is some of the most haunting and versatile American work being written today."--Something on Paper

"The menace never lets up in this page-turner of a literary novel. . . . I read this book in one sitting, and was left feeling as though I had been swept under in the river of this country's racial history. It has the feel of a classic--something that will be read in history or English classes for years to come, a book that inspires interpretation and reflection. Recommended."--Historical Novel Society

"[Kind One] soars because of Hunt's intensely human characters which are displayed with complex compassion. The hands which are heavy may change over time, as may the victims, but pain and guilt, and, more precisely, the residual effects of pain and guilt, do not."--The Small Press Book Review

"Hunt has written an extraordinary work. Kind One plumbs the dark depths and shimmering reaches of spirit through a tapestry of voices with such subtle power that you won't realize how deeply this novel has gotten inside you until it's too late. It will haunt you for the rest of your life."--Mixer Publishing

"I had an intense emotional response to this novel . . . [M]y attention was enchanted by Hunt's image-rich language."--TriQuarterly