Editor’s Note

“Achingly good fiction…”

No one else writes like Nell Zink. Her dialogue is infinitely sharper than real life, and she manages to turn racism, sexism, classism & Southern history into rich veins of pitiless, yet breezy comedy.
Scribd Editor

From the Publisher

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2015 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

A sharply observed, mordantly funny, and startlingly original novel from an exciting, unconventional new voice—the author of the acclaimed The Wallcreeper—about the making and unmaking of the American family that lays bare all of our assumptions about race and racism, sexuality and desire.

Stillwater College in Virginia, 1966. Freshman Peggy, an ingénue with literary pretensions, falls under the spell of Lee, a blue-blooded poet and professor, and they begin an ill-advised affair that results in an unplanned pregnancy and marriage. The two are mismatched from the start—she’s a lesbian, he’s gay—but it takes a decade of emotional erosion before Peggy runs off with their three-year-old daughter, leaving their nine-year-old son behind.

Worried that Lee will have her committed for her erratic behavior, Peggy goes underground, adopting an African American persona for her and her daughter. They squat in a house in an African-American settlement, eventually moving to a housing project where no one questions their true racial identities. As Peggy and Lee’s children grow up, they must contend with diverse emotional issues: Byrdie deals with his father’s compulsive honesty; while Karen struggles with her mother’s lies—she knows neither her real age, nor that she is “white,” nor that she has any other family.

Years later, a minority scholarship lands Karen at the University of Virginia, where Byrdie is in his senior year. Eventually the long lost siblings will meet, setting off a series of misunderstandings and culminating in a comedic finale worthy of Shakespeare.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780062364791
List price: $9.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Mislaid: A Novel
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.

Related Articles

New York Magazine
2 min read

Our Book Critic’s 5 Most Anticipated

AGAINST EVERYTHING: ESSAYS SEPT. 6, BY MARK GREIF Following on the heels of last year’s ambitious, if somewhat clunkily titled The Age of the Crisis of Man: Thought and Fiction in America, 1933–1973, Grief’s new book collects more than a decade’s worth of provocations from a founder of n+1. In it, he traces the arc of a young intellectual through the Bush and Obama administrations, from the gym to the ramparts. SUBSTITUTE: GOING TO SCHOOL WITH A THOUSAND KIDS SEPT. 6, BY NICHOLSON BAKER Baker is an obsessive with immense powers of observation, a strong social conscience, and, as those fam
TIME
2 min read

When Less Plot Is Actually More

AFTER WRITING SEVEN NOVELS AND three works of nonfiction, acclaimed British author Rachel Cusk began to find fiction “fake and embarrassing.” Two years ago, she explained to a British newspaper, “Once you have suffered sufficiently, the idea of making up John and Jane and having them do things together seems utterly ridiculous.” No surprise, then, that her 2014 novel Outline was anything but plot-driven. It was more like a series of observations by a narrator as she traveled to Greece to teach writing. The people she met along the way essentially became the subjects of miniature profiles craf
The Atlantic
8 min read
Psychology

The Best Writing Advice of 2016

2016 was not an easy year to be a writer. Not just because of the constant, concentration-wrecking pull of our devices, their glowing screens beckoning with the promise of fresh horrors. I’ve spoken with many writers, in recent months, who seem to be facing a deeper, starker crisis of purpose since the election of Donald Trump. They’re asking themselves: Is making literature an acceptable pursuit in a world with such urgent, tangible needs? And if so, how should I use my words? It’s a deeply personal line of questioning, and I can’t supply any answers here—I’m still working things out for myse