MNMO contributor Quinton Skinner (check out his terrific profile on restaurateur Ann Kim here) reads from his new novel, Odd One Out, next week at Magers & Quinn. And after whatever family extravagance you might have to entertain this holiday weekend, Skinner’s domestic odyssey should feel a bit like a) smoking a pack after enduring one passive-aggressive roundabout on social issues with your khaki shorts–wearing uncle, b) hearing a new friend spill behind-doors drama you thought only you were cursed with, or c) that moment during the road trip when you find peace with your sibling’s weirdness—and teeth-grindingly suspect its genetic provenance.
The novel’s first of three sections follows a young family stuck improvising an answer to two questions (both posed with all the decorum of a midnight break-in): Where did Mom go? And why did she leave? While the father takes it poorly—existentially, really—his kids, each precocious in a different color, fashion their own terms of understanding.
Because, as Skinner shows, all kids eventually have to realize that their parents are just people. Our parents were no different from any of the world’s countless walking forenames before they settled, like so many, for Mom and Dad. They’re undecorated. Contradictory. A little gross. And they’re asking just as many questions as their kids, if not more.
“‘I’m your father, right? Not Glenn,'” the father says to his daughter as the investigation for Mom begins. “‘Not a forty-one-year-old person. I’m Dad. All the symbolism, all the weight of our shared history—you’ll never be able to shake it and see me for who I really am.'”
Odd One Out
7 p.m.; Tuesday, May 30
Magers & Quinn
3038 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis