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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  56 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Sisters Lark and Clef have spent their lives honing their bodies for sleight, an interdisciplinary art form that combines elements of dance, architecture, acrobatics, and spoken word. After being estranged for several years, the sisters are reunited by a deceptive and ambitious sleight troupe director named West who needs the sisters' opposing approaches to the form—Lark i ...more
Paperback, 286 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Coffee House Press (first published September 7th 2011)
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Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bloody brilliant. A rather demanding read, but far more than worth the challenge.

An "experimental prose" novel based in a slightly alternate-history world in which sleight - a rigorous avant-garde art form somewhat like acrobatic butoh as practiced by Mummenschanz - is a world-wide draw, Sleight follows a once-famous troupe as it attempts to regain... and surpass... its former achievements. What might otherwise become a familiar story of dysfunctional relationships, artistic aspirations and dom
Aug 16, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: dreamlike
Added because of China Miéville. Derp.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sleight is a different book (small press, professor written) about a troupe of dancers/contortionists/artists whose art, called sleight, is strictly regulated by a set of often arbitrary-seeming international standards. Two troupes, galvanized by a rebel director named West, merge to create a sleight that defies the stringently traditional artform's established rules. Specifically, the sleight aims to use a heavily publicized tragedy involving a couple of child killers by, for one, incorporating ...more
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of most original and captivating books I have read. You won't soon forget Sleight.

Where is the cover??
Dec 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sleight is disorienting at first: entering the world of the book means picking up its vocabulary, the vocabulary of an imagined form of art called sleight that's part acrobatics, part dance, but something else entirely. One character, early in the book, says sleight is "beyond anything it may have come from. Or out of": she goes on to say that "at several points during a sleight performance—you've got epiphany" (9). More concretely, sleight troupes, which all have nine women and three men, work ...more
Rick Claypool
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was interesting in the same way some difficult museum pieces are interesting. Not one of those difficult museum pieces where you find yourself saying your six-year-old niece could have painted it. More like one of those pieces where the effort and skill and craftsmanship that went into creating the piece are obvious, and obviously impressive, but the piece itself comes off as overwrought and opaque. You find yourself wondering if in its opaqueness you, the audience, might have missed someth ...more
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very unsettling. Cerebral. I think the structure of the book fulfills the interdisciplinary art form the book's title comes from. It's not an easy read, but you get rewarded for taking time to get into the world that's been built. A profound darkness haunts the book. The theme of weather or not art has a responsibility to the subject it uses was brilliantly strung together through different kinds of writing. The sibling dynamics are fascinating and gripping and really got to me. I'd say there's ...more
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jessica by: Anitra
A truly original work. Kaschock's experimental but still-accessible prose deftly pulls the reader into the insular world of artists and performers. This will stick with me for a long time.


My friend edited this book and I remember her telling me, probably more than a year ago, about the general concept and plot. I was completely enthralled and her description has really stuck with me. I can't wait to read what sounds like a truly innovative book. Comes out October 2011.
Apr 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
I marked this book as complete, but after 50-60 pages, I just really could not get in to the book. I don't know if Sleight is a real thing or not, but I do know that the footnotes, Souls, and Needs were beyond vague and unnecessary. I did not like this book.
Dec 23, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a very original and artistic book. The story revolves around an art form called Sleight. It is a real challenge to read as you need to disover the characters but also discover Sleight, which is a very unique art form that is explained in very creative ways.
Dan Schuna
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I didn't finish this book so this review isn't really a review. Many of the ideas and plot pieces were really interesting but everyday, commonplace events are all WAY to infused with meaning for my tastes. All around this sort of book just isn't for me.
Ben Serviss
Nov 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Really interesting conceptually, though it fails to live up to its potential. The thing is, it never pretends to have any, so you can't really be disappointed. Interesting mainly for the concept of Sleight it introduces, but I wouldn't say it's a great book.
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“I quit because I was good, and when you’re good and a girl at something, you should be suspicious.’
‘Of what?’
‘Of what part of yourself you didn’t know you were selling.”
“Snake oil, movement: all the world really needed was a little removal.” 1 likes
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