Susan Nussbaum

Good Kings Bad Kings

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This PEN/Bellwether Prize–winning novel set in a state-run facility for disabled teenagers is “saucy, brutally funny, gritty, profane, poignant and real” (The Kansas City Star).
Playwright and activist Susan Nussbaum’s powerful debut novel invites us into the lives of a group of typical teenagers—alienated, funny, yearning for autonomy—except that they live in an institution for juveniles with disabilities. This unfamiliar, isolated landscape is much the same as the world outside: friendships are forged, trust is built, love affairs are kindled, and rules are broken. But those who call it home have little or no control over their fate. Good Kings Bad Kings challenges our definitions of what it means to be disabled in a story told with remarkable authenticity and in voices that resound with humor and spirit.
“This is fiction at its best . . . Simply and breathtakingly honest . . . A stunning accomplishment.” —Barbara Kingsolver
“Nussbaum’s dramatist skills translate powerfully into fiction as she gives voices to an infatuating cast of characters . . . This is unquestionably an authentic, galvanizing, and righteous novel.” —Booklist (starred review)
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263 printed pages
Original publication
2013

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