How “Such a Fun Age” Came to Be: An Interview with Kiley Reid

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Travel would be by foot or golf cart, we were told, and the only way back to the mainland was a ferry with an intermittent schedule that only made sense to the locals. As writers in residency programs know, isolation like this is entirely the point. But for Kiley, anxious for news from her literary agent, this was the worst possible day to be cut off from the world. It turns out she had no reason to worry. The novel has since been longlisted for the Booker Prize, named a finalist in numerous awards, and, when the world was still normal, got Kiley an appearance on The Daily Show. I chatted with Kiley over Zoom — from my home in Charlottesville, Virginia, to hers in Philadelphia — about these less explored moments, as well as transactional relationships, income disparity, allyship, the purpose of fiction, and loving what makes us cringe.

Although she just wants a real activity. After that altercation at the grocery store, Emira finds herself caught all the rage a love triangle of sorts. Alix wants Emira to know that she has black friends, that she likes Toni Morrison, that she got her favorite shoes from Payless. Emira above all thinks of Alix as a dorky white lady, a mom.

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Head Barack Obama is in office, Hillary Clinton is expected to be the next president, and pundits are agreed to smugly declaring America to be post-racist and post-sexist. As Such a Fun Age shows, that was by no means truly the case. This novel is a satire of polite liberal prejudices, and how they flourish beneath a veneer of colorblind civility. Such a Fun Age concerns year-old Emira. Although all Emira really likes doing is hanging out with Briar, her 3-year-old white babysitting charge. Alix exists at the same time as an all-too realistic parody of Be support In white feminism. Her signature hashtag is LetHerSpeak.

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