Archive Date: February 6, 2013
Archive Text: Rilla Askew reads from her new novel, Kind of Kin. The story centers around Robert John Brown, a churchgoing family man and respected community member, who is caught hiding a barnful of migrant workers with no papers. He is then arrested and sent to prison. Meanwhile, his ten-year-old grandson Dustin tries to help the sole escapee of the raid reunite with his family, and his granddaughter, Misty, is struggling to raise her daughter alone after her husband, an illegal immigrant himself, has been deported. In the midst of this is Brown's daughter Sweet, who finds her life unraveling: her father is refusing to speak in court to defend himself, her nephew is missing, her niece is in need of shelter, and the stress of it all is destroying her marriage.
"Rilla Askew's unflinching portrait of a family whipsawed from within and without is a story for our time. It's proof of Askew's flat-out genius that Kind of Kin is merciless, yet strangely full of mercy." — Ben Fountain, author Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
"Five generations of Rilla Askew's family have occupied southeastern Oklahoma. Celebrating this birthright, she has concocted of it her own Faulknerian kingdom. Trusting prose that is disciplined, luxuriant and muscular, she is forging a chronicle as humane as it is elemental." — Allan Gurganus, May 20, 2009, American Academy of Arts and Letters