Long Division

Long Division

by Kiese Laymon

Paperback

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

The debut novel from the critically acclaimed author of Heavy: An American Memoir is a picaresque coming-of-age story that will have you laughing and crying, sometimes in the span of a single sentence. Filled with indelible characters and beautifully written, this genre-bending novel is a provocative and unforgettable story of love and family and internet fame and time travel set in rural, post-Katrina Mississippi that Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones) calls “smart, funny, and sharp.”

From Kiese Laymon, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Heavy, comes a “funny, astute, searching” (The Wall Street Journal) debut novel about Black teenagers that is a satirical exploration of celebrity, authorship, violence, religion, and coming of age in post-Katrina Mississippi.

Written in a voice that’s alternately humorous, lacerating, and wise, Long Division features two interwoven stories. In the first, it’s 2013: after an on-stage meltdown during a nationally televised quiz contest, fourteen-year-old Citoyen “City” Coldson becomes an overnight YouTube celebrity. The next day, he’s sent to stay with his grandmother in the small coastal community of Melahatchie, where a young girl named Baize Shephard has recently disappeared.

Before leaving, City is given a strange book without an author called Long Division. He learns that one of the book’s main characters is also named City Coldson—but Long Division is set in 1985. This 1985-version of City, along with his friend and love interest, Shalaya Crump, discovers a way to travel into the future, and steals a laptop and cellphone from an orphaned teenage rapper called...Baize Shephard. They ultimately take these items with them all the way back to 1964, to help another time-traveler they meet to protect his family from the Ku Klux Klan.

City’s two stories ultimately converge in the work shed behind his grandmother’s house, where he discovers the key to Baize’s disappearance. Brilliantly “skewering the disingenuous masquerade of institutional racism” (Publishers Weekly), this dreamlike “smart, funny, and sharp” (Jesmyn Ward), novel shows the work that young Black Americans must do, while living under the shadow of a history “that they only gropingly understand and must try to fill in for themselves” (The Wall Street Journal).


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982174828
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 06/01/2021
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 13,670
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Kiese Laymon, Ottilie Schillig Professor in English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi, is the author of the novel Long Division, the memoir Heavy, and the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.

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