Long Division: A Novel

We rated this book:


Told in two books, each printed a different direction so you must physically flip the novel to begin Book Two, Kiese Laymon’s novel Long Division relies on a few too many tricks and gimmicks to make the story fully engaging.

Book One opens with fourteen-year-old City Coldson as he navigates the national Can You Use That Word in a Sentence contest alongside his archenemy LaVander Peeler. The incident at the nationally televised competition makes City a viral celebrity and leads to a number of discoveries about his family history and his own sense of self. How our faith, our education, and our ancestry shapes us is the heart of Book One, and it is compelling and powerful.

Book Two brings in time travel through a hole in the ground in the woods and, personally, I lost interest. There is a larger story to be told about systemic racism and internalized prejudice and what we are willing to sacrifice to make the world a better place, but that larger conceptual track isn’t nearly as interesting or well written as the material in Book One.

Laymon is an important writer whose work is touching on the cross-section of race and class and gender at a time when those conversations are necessary.

Reviewed By:

Author Kiese Laymon
Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Scribner
Publish Date 01-Jun-2021
ISBN 9781982174828 Buy this Book
Issue August 2021
Category Popular Fiction