cover image Come and Get It

Come and Get It

Kiley Reid. Putnam, $29 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-32820-0

Reid returns after her smash hit Such a Fun Age with a sardonic and no-holds-barred comedy of manners. When Agatha Paul, a white writer in her late 30s, arrives at the University of Arkansas as a visiting professor in 2017, she is separated from her wife, a Black dancer in Chicago, and intends to write a book about contemporary weddings. She switches topics, however, after interviewing a group of entitled young women who live in a dorm for scholarship students (one, named Jenna, who cashes in on a scholarship for Mexican Americans because her grandmother is Mexican, jokingly calls herself a “cute little refugee” and considers her work study salary “fun money”). The dorm’s Black resident assistant Millie Cousins, who resents the others’ shamelessness, agrees to let Agatha eavesdrop on them through a wall in exchange for $20 per session. There’s also sensitive scholarship student Kennedy, who is so grotesquely spoiled by her mother that she must move into a single room to accommodate all her stuff. Overlaying the narrative of Agatha’s clandestine project are backstories of the principal characters, which gradually reveal sources of their ongoing pain and push the story to an explosive climax. Reid is a keen observer­—every page sparkles with sharp analysis of her characters. This blistering send-up of academia is interlaced with piercing moral clarity. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME. (Jan.)