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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 undocumented 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.
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.
What People are Saying About This
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.”