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The Crack Magazine


Come and Get It by Kiley Reid

I’m a sucker for a good campus set novel. From the seductive pull of Donna Tartt’s ‘The Secret History’ to the caustic machinations of Curtis Sittenfeld ‘Prep’, there’s just something so satisfyingly immersive about them. Maybe it’s because they’re invariably populated with young people on the cusp of adulthood that makes them so interesting. Young people have new responsibilities, yes, but they’re also living away from home for the first time, with all the pitfalls that that entails. US author Kiley Reid’s second novel is set in the University of Arkansas. Among the students living on campus are Millie, a Black woman (one of the few people of colour on site) who acts as one of the college’s Resident Advisors. She is tasked with marshalling a new influx of young women, many of whom are from well-to-do backgrounds. Also in the mix is Agatha, a 37-year-old visiting professor, who is recovering from a break-up with her girlfriend. She’s working on a new non-fiction book and the students are providing her with gold in the way of off-the-cuff remarks. Reid’s first novel, the brilliant ‘Such a Fun Age’, focused on the micro-tensions between a Black babysitter and a white mother. Race plays an important part in ‘Come and Get It’, but the book is just as much about class, consumerism and privilege. It’s also a deeply humane novel, populated with memorable characters spouting memorable dialogue, and it pulls off that rare trick of remaining citrus sharp from the first page to the last. RM

Published by Bloomsbury