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Kind of Kin (Hardcover)
January 2013 Indie Next List
“The nature of this wonderful novel set in small-town Oklahoma is like its characters -- raucous, messy, uncertain, and foolishly brave. After a surprise immigration raid on Mexicans that scoops up even some respected citizens, everyone struggles to understand where they stand and how to act. This is a large, kind-hearted story of less than perfect folks caught in a maelstrom while still trying to abide by their ethical and spiritual beliefs. Askew's story is a most timely look at who is welcome into our lives and how we express and share compassion even when times are tough and language is a barrier.”
— Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, CA
With the passing of a new state law, it becomes a felony to harbor an undocumented immigrant in Oklahoma. So when Robert John Brown, a churchgoing family man and respected community member, is caught hiding a barnful of migrant workers with no papers, he is arrested and sent to prison. Meanwhile, his ten-year-old grandson Dustin tries to help the sole escapee of the raid reunite with his family, and his granddaughter, Misty, is struggling to raise her daughter alone after her husband, an illegal immigrant himself, has been deported. Then there's Brown's daughter Sweet, who finds her life unraveling: her father is refusing to speak in court to defend himself, her nephew is missing, her niece is in need of shelter, and the stress of it all is destroying her marriage.
Rilla Askew's brilliant, hilarious, and heartfelt novel follows a handful of complicated lawmakers and lawbreakers as workers are exiled, friends turn informers, and families are torn apart in a statewide exodus of Hispanics. In the end, Kind of Kin reveals how an ad hoc family, and an entire town, will unite to do anything necessary to protect its own.
About the Author
Rilla Askew received a 2009 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is the author of four novels, and has been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Dublin IMPAC Prize, and is a three-time recipient of the Oklahoma Book Award.
“Kind of Kin is a kind of miracle. The character Sweet is an American original, doing her best to hold the family she loves together while trying not to fall apart. A winner.”
-Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Shoemaker's Wife
“Wonderful . . . Askew’s unflinching portrait of a family whipsawed from within and without is a story for our time. It’s proof of Askew’s flat-out genius that Kind of Kin is merciless, yet strangely full of mercy.” —Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
-Ben Fountain, author Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
“I loved it!!! I stayed up until 4 in the morning … I couldn’t stop thinking about it. That is just one of the magical things about Rilla’s writing…A brilliant portrait of the world today. I just felt hopeful when I was finished.”
-Diane Welsh, Barnes & Noble, Cedar Rapids, IA
Passionate, solid, and fair. . . Askew’s characters, whose viewpoints are all over the political map, are well-imagined, thoughtful, and treated with a kindness that is often lacking in the ongoing discussion of this ‘hot button’ topic. It deserves great applause.”
-Emily Russo, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
“Kind of Kin is beautiful, funny, politically alive and savvy. Askew does character like no American writer and her nuanced vision of the relationship between the Big Picture and the lives of regular Americans is unrivaled.”
-Paul Ingram, Prairie Lights, Iowa City, IA
“The nature of this wonderful novel is, like the characters, raucous, messy, uncertain and foolishly brave. Askew’s story is brilliant and a most timely look at who is welcome into our lives and how we express and share compassion even while times are tough and language is a barrier.”
-Sheryl Cotleur, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
“Askew writes a very compelling family drama that features a very hot subject these days-immigration, illegal and otherwise. Religion, civil rights, extended families, and the economic struggles of blue collar families all come into play in this multi-layered novel of life in Oklahoma.”
-Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO
“Bracing, startling, snort-out-loud funny, heart-rending, Kind of Kin addresses family function and dysfunction, religion, immigration. [Rilla Askew] suggests a very subversive thought. Perhaps we are all a kind of kin. No matter your politics, you will not soon forget this generous work of art.”
-Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Queen of America
“Compelling...this novel is rich, rewarding, and humane.”
“Askew deftly weaves together a narrative that foregrounds a number of important contemporary issues: religion, immigration, the economy and the effect of all of these on family life.”