Your Face in Mine

Riverhead. Aug. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9781594488344. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698168817. F
OrangeReviewStarIn this debut novel from a Pushcart and PEN/O. Henry Prize winner, Kelly Thorndike moves back to his hometown of Baltimore and is shortly thereafter introduced to an African American man named Martin who claims to be a friend from high school. But the Martin whom Kelly knew was a white, Jewish teenager. Martin eventually reveals that he had "racial reassignment surgery," which included the alteration of his hair, skin, and general physiognomy to allow him to pass as black. He wants Kelly to cowrite a book with him about his experience, which is only the beginning of a journey of discovery. The narrative ponders the right to choose one's identity—and it does so immaculately and in a forthcoming manner.
VERDICT In this imaginative novel, the author deftly ponders why anyone would choose to usurp his or her past. There are a number of twists along the way, with the ending a particular surprise. This will appeal especially to those who love literary fiction with a thriller's edge. [See Prepub Alert, 3/15/14.]
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