Sometimes We Tell the Truth: A Reading by Kim Zarins
Dr. Kim Zarins came to Washington College on February 6 for the Sophie Kerr Lecture Series. The event title is also the title of her novel, a modern retelling of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
Kim Zarins has a PhD in English from Cornell University and teaches medieval literature and children’s literature at Sacramento State University. Her debut novel, Sometimes We Tell the Truth (Simon and Schuster, 2016), retells Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with modern teens, transforming the fourteenth-century collection into contemporary genres and tackling issues relevant for today’s teens. On the long bus ride to Washington, D.C., a group of seniors each tell a story—some fantastical, some realistic, some downright scandalous—in a competition for the ultimate prize: a perfect grade. Whether zombie war epic, love story between an angel and a devil, tale of interracial adoption, eulogy for a lost sibling, or “Harry Potter” fan fiction, the tales entertain and invite empathy. In this contemporary YA adaptation of the Canterbury Tales, students wrestle with issues of class and wealth, fears of going off to college, moral reckoning with the cost of cheating, and LGBTQIA identity. Most lies are really just lies—but, sometimes, they can tell the truth.