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Avalon by Nell Zink
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Avalon by Nell Zink
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Jul 26, 2022 | ISBN 9780593676936 | 382 Minutes

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  • Jul 26, 2022 | ISBN 9780593676936

    382 Minutes

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A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vulture

“Effulgent and clever . . . A zone of mirth and meaning. What fun.”
—Molly Young, The New York Times

“Well-observed, archly funny . . . Zink is a brilliant creator of character, setting and, for lack of a better word, vibe, and there is much pleasure to be found in the way she gets so many things so precisely right in this novel.”
—Samantha Schoech, San Francisco Chronicle

Avalon could be described as something of a Trojan horse: Its exterior has the appearance of a classic bildungsroman, but it contains a wry and biting critique of social mobility, labor exploitation, and creative work in Southern California . . . Zink’s California has some resonances with Joan Didion’s, chock-full of unsettling tensions that are difficult to unravel . . . [Zink paints] a rather authentic image of Southern California, one that elucidates how—not only there, but particularly there—financial and cultural capital have become so intertwined that someone without the former can’t reasonably have access to the latter . . . Perhaps the best way to understand the book is not as a portrait of the artist, but as a playbook for how to be one.”
— Alana Pockros, The Nation

Avalon rekindles much of what made The Wallcreeper a standout . . . Zink has composed another successful foray into a critique of the patriarchy relying on her distinctive voice and style to carry the novel.”
—Ian MacAllen, The Chicago Review of Books
“Zink is a fearless satirist . . . Life steams ahead whether a person wants it to or not, and the mystery at work in Avalon is whether Bran is paranoid enough to realize that. Zink answers that question with her usual cunning, and it’s no spoiler to note that the final page of the novel will send readers scrambling back to its first.”
—Jake Cline, The Washington Post

“[Zink] allows a remarkable tenderness to permeate the narrative, without compromising on her characteristic humor and predilection for the American idiom. The result is delightfully refreshing . . . In the end, style and execution of that style are the skills with which the player wins the game, and Zink’s knack for voice here is delicious.”
—Huda Awan, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Fun to read . . . Zink lovingly lampoons the way that teenagers bumble toward identity and character . . . A light-footed Cinderella story that documents a young woman’s rise from a wretched existence in stylish, witty fashion”
—Patrick Condon, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Zink has a gift for crafting elegant sentences that reward rereading . . . The ending of the novel is Zink at her best: clever and biting, and refreshingly unforced.”
—Michael Schaub, The Boston Globe

Avalon contains delights . . . [The novel’s] discussions [are] lively and entertaining . . . [Zink’s] customary lunacy is on display again in Avalon.”
—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“Incredibly pleasing to see a writer this intelligent keep the focus of her gaze this tight . . . There are also long stretches of satisfying narrative, of humanity and pain . . . The concrete descriptions of California are continually stunning and add a further layer of life . . . [Avalon] ended up, for me, feeling like art.”
—Lynn Steger Strong, Los Angeles Times

“Vivid and thorough—persistent, even, in its whimsy . . . Zink writes, in places, with almost cinematic vividness, and follows Bran’s evolution with an impressive commitment to realizing her experiences on the page.”
—Claire Messud, Harper’s

“Zink delves into class, art, and American culture in a characteristically witty bildungsroman . . . Even more impactful than the intellectual ballistics is the tortured romance story. The style is all Zink’s own, and she’s as brilliant as ever here.”
Publishers Weekly, starred

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