Sleight

Kirsten Kaschock. Coffee House, $16 trade paper (330p) ISBN 978-1-56689-275-9
This muddled debut novel, though ostensibly about “sleight” (a fictional interdisciplinary art form combining dance, architecture, acrobatics, and spoken word), provides no clear definition of sleight. That Kaschock, the author of two poetry collections (Unfathoms; A Beautiful Name for a Girl), never offers a clear visual of this practice is only one of the book’s many problems. Focusing on two sleightist sisters, Clef and Lark, the novel examines their troubled relationship, which is paralleled by the strained bond between two brothers, Byrne and Marvel. These four troubled sleightists are brought together by West, a less-than-scrupulous sleight director, in order to create an unorthodox sleight based on the tragic murder of 25 children. As the intense preparations for the performance collide with the legacies of past transgressions, the sleightists begin to fall apart, even as they increasingly come to feel that sleight offers their only chance at salvation. The reader may well feel some of the presumed contortions of sleight while attempting to make sense of this strenuously pretentious and humorless novel. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/08/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Ebook - 330 pages - 978-1-56689-293-3
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