Kind One (Paperback)
Coffee House Press, 9781566893114, 211pp.
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
"There is always a surprise in the voice and in the heart of Laird Hunt's stories, with its echoes of habit caught in a timeless dialect, so we see the world he gives us as if new. 'You hear something like that and it walks out the door with you.'"--Michael Ondaatje
"Laird Hunt's Kind One, about two slave girls who take their white mistress into captivity, is a profound meditation on the sexual and racial subconscious of America. . . . A] gorgeous and terrifying novel."--Danzy Senna
As a teenage girl, Ginny marries Linus Lancaster, her mother's second cousin, and moves to his Kentucky pig farm "ninety miles from nowhere." In the shadows of the lush Kentucky landscape, Ginny discovers the empty promises of Linus' "paradise"--a place where the charms of her husband fall away to reveal a troubled man and cruel slave owner. Ginny befriends the young slaves Cleome and Zinnia who work at the farm--until Linus' attentions turn to them, and she finds herself torn between her husband and only companions. The events that follow Linus' death change all three women for life. Haunting, chilling, and suspenseful, Kind One is a powerful tale of redemption and human endurance in antebellum America.
Laird Hunt is the author of several works of fiction and a finalist for the 2010 PEN Center USA Award in Fiction. Currently on the faculty of the University of Denver's creative writing program, he and his wife, the poet Eleni Sikelianos, live in Boulder, Colorado, with their daughter, Eva Grace.
About the Author
Praise For Kind One…
"There is always a surprise in the voice and in the heart of Laird Hunt’s storieswith its echoes of habit caught in a timeless dialect, so we see the world he gives us as if new. 'You hear something like that and it walks out the door with you.'" Michael Ondaatje
"Laird Hunt's Kind One, about two slave girls who take their white mistress into captivity, is a profound meditation on the sexual and racial subconscious of America. Nothing is sacred here. Savagery begets savagery. Women commit unspeakable violence, wives are complicit in their husband's crimes, slave girls learn to be as cold and brutal as the masters who have raped and whipped them. Of course the center cannot hold. We watch it crumble with breath held, skin tingling, in this gorgeous and terrifying novel." Danzy Senna, author of Caucasia
"Opening with a prologue in the form of an extraordinarily beautiful meditation on loss, Hunt's writing deepens into allegory, symbolism and metaphor, all while spinning forth a dark tale of abuse, incest and corruption reminiscent of Faulkner . . . Profoundly imaginative, strikingly original, deeply moving." Kirkus, starred review
"[A]n unforgettable tale of the savagery of antebellum America . . . Hunt deftly maintains an unsettling tone and a compelling narrative that will linger with readers long after the last page." Publishers Weekly
"[A] study in the perpetuation of violence, the lasting impact of abuse, the damage subjugation can inflict on the individual and society, and the potential for redemption through forgiveness."ForeWord
"Hunt has an ear for dialect, and the story itself reads like Faulkner mixed with Raymond Carver, while remaining recognizably Hunt's own. The reckonings that Hunt's characters face, as they do in so many of his novels, will reverberate in the reader's memory long after Kind One."Shelf Awareness
"Laird Hunt's Kind One is a mesmerizing novel of sin and expiation that plumbs the depths of human depravity and despair, yet hints at the possibility of redemption . . . [O]ne that will resonate long after you turn its last page."Minneapolis Star Tribune
"In taut, hypnotic chapters that loop forward and back in time, Hunt interweaves dreams, African folktales and elements of Shakespeare to deliver half-seen glimpses of the past, narrated by Ginny and several characters whose lives have intersected in the past.The Atlantic Journal-Constitution
"Laird Hunt's novel Kind One is as powerful and dark a novel I have read all year, a book as exquisitely written as it is haunting."Largehearted Boy