Kind of Kin [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...

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Kind of Kin

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Jonathan Evison
With a topic as incendiary as immigration at the story's core, Askew could have trod heavily over her subject matter and garnered passionate responses from both sides of the political divide. Instead she personalizes the issue, exploring with a deft hand and an unflinching moral vision the gray areas of an argument so often presented in black and white…Askew's solid prose serves the pulse of the story without calling much attention to the author…she paces her story masterfully. The reader turns the pages with a mounting sense of anticipation and dread…
Publishers Weekly
This compelling, deliberate novel from Askew (The Mercy Seat), told from a rotation of voices and perspectives, delves into the lives of an Oklahoma family and community in the aftermath of new immigration legislation. Sweet Kirkendall is a smalltown wife and mother whose marriage is on autopilot; her son, Carl, is becoming a bully; and, to make matters worse, after her sister dies, her nephew, Dustin, has come to live with them. When Sweet’s father is arrested for harboring undocumented workers, the pre-trial publicity and Carl’s growing aggression drive Sweet to question her core values. With her father refusing to defend himself in court, and Dustin on the lam with one of the farm’s illegal aliens, Sweet musters the courage to act decisively in defense of her family and against the implementation of the controversial new law. The delineation of this fictional state immigration law gets the book off to a slow start, but later Askew introduces an inspired thread about the political ambitions of the bill’s sponsor, state representative Monica Moorehouse, a complex and conflicted character. Although the sections narrated by Dustin sometimes miss the mark, whenever Sweet or Monica are front and center, this novel is rich, rewarding, and humane. Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit. (Jan.)
Shelf Awareness
“Vividly authentic . . . Askew has crafted an uncannily real cast of characters . . . A winner for book clubs...Askew’s sensitive and humanizing treatment of this hot-button issue is sure to provoke thought and discussion no matter what readers’ political leanings may be.”
World Literature Today
“A brilliant evocation of Heraclitus’s axiom that character is fate-an ironic evocation she both confirms and turns on its head…Askew immerses us in the frightening dynamics of every situation while illustrating the focused moral prescience of a novelist of superb acumen.”
Sheryl Cotleur
“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.”
Jackie Blem
“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.”
Dallas News
Kind of Kin does not disappoint. In fact, it is so good, so cogent and poignant and dead-on perspective, I would very much like to make it required reading for anyone who harbors strong opinions on immigration policy, on either side of the metaphorical border.”
New York Times Book Review
“What might have been a political polemic or a partisan pitch in the hands of a lesser writer, Rilla Askew’s fourth novel....personalizes [immigration]...exploring with a deft hand and an unflinching moral vision the gray areas of an argument so often presented in black and white.”
Seattle Times
“Askew has created a realistic and compassionate reflection of the people who populate our neighborhoods and our nation today.”
Jewish Book World
“A brilliant evocation of Heraclitus’s axiom that character is fate-an ironic evocation she both confirms and turns on its head…Askew immerses us in the frightening dynamics of every situation while illustrating the focused moral prescience of a novelist of superb acumen.”
Denver Post
“Askew’s novel delivers the unexpected. It has moments both funny and sublime.”
Kansas City Star
“The end result is a novel as ambitious as it is complex: Askew deftly weaves multiple points of view into a narrative that’s spacious, messy and, above all, honest.”
New York Review of Books
"What might have been a political polemic or a partisan pitch in the hands of a lesser writer, Rilla Askew’s fourth novel....personalizes [immigration]...exploring with a deft hand and an unflinching moral vision the gray areas of an argument so often presented in black and white."
San Francisco Chronicle
Kind of Kin is about how we are all connected and how we might transcend barriers of race and fear. Askew’s astonishing ending, which, like life, is messy and incomplete, and so filmic, you might find yourself casting the characters.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Intelligent and gripping...Askew’s strength as a novelist is just this; through an accretion of believable detail and judgment-free descriptions, she creates characters in whose fate you can’t help but become invested.”
Tulsa World
“Askew deftly weaves these storylines together to create an engaging read.”
Adriana Trigiani
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.”
Ben Fountain
“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.”
Diane Welsh
“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.”
Emily Russo
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.”
Paul Ingram
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.”
Luis Alberto Urrea
“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.”
Huffington Post
“Written in the rawboned, heartfelt and often funny prose that has defined much of her [Askew’s] earlier acclaimed works on the Great Plains…Extraordinary novel.”
Austin American-Statesman
"Askew’s characters are both larger than life and deeply, complicatedly human…Askew gallops her story to an astonishing ending, which, like life, is messy and incomplete, and so filmic, you might find yourself casting the characters."
Tulsa Book Review
Kind of Kin is equally full of grace, humor and much love for Oklahoma and its people. A contemporary classic, this novel is an ideal choice for book clubs and anyone with a love of character-driven, lyrically written and issues-oriented fiction.”
Library Journal
Askew's heroine already has enough on her hands when she learns that her devout father has been arrested for helping to shelter undocumented Mexican workers, a felony in Oklahoma. Pen/Faulkner Award and Dublin IMPAC Prize nominee Askew moves from the rigorous lyricism of works like Harpsong to a larger arena.
Kirkus Reviews
An Oklahoma-centric novel about the "crime" of harboring illegal Mexican workers. Georgia Ann "Sweet" Kirkendall is distressed--her father, Robert John Brown (emphasis on the second two names), has been arrested and charged for the felony crime of "transporting, harboring, concealing, and sheltering undocumented aliens in furtherance of their illegal presence in the state of Oklahoma," as the legalese goes. Brown doesn't deny the charge but rather embraces it, for he sees it as part of his Christian duty to help others. Sweet doesn't quite see it the same way as her father, however, and she has a number of other things to worry about, including her son, Carl Albert, and most especially her nephew, Dustin, who's only 10 but shows considerable empathy toward both his grandfather and the plight of the Mexican workers. In fact, he runs away, causing further worry and grief for his aunt. (His mother had died a few years before.) Brown's situation is exacerbated since it becomes something of a local cause célèbre when Sheriff Arvin Holloway begins to rail against "criminals" like Brown--Holloway has no sympathy for the justification of "doing one's Christian duty." State Representative Monica Moorehouse also wants to make political hay, for she's sponsoring a "get tough on illegal aliens" crime bill and fears her political ambitions might be hurt if sympathy builds for Brown. Askew deftly weaves all this together in a narrative that foregrounds a number of important contemporary issues: religion, immigration, the economy and the effect of all of these on family life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062198815
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 42,088
  • File size: 988 KB

Meet 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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

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