David, the narrator of Simeon Marsalis’s singular first novel, is a freshman at the University of Vermont who is struggling to define himself against the white backdrop of his school. It is a revelatory tale of a man attempting to find his true voice and identity while being haunted by the spectres his past. The title of this impressive and emotionally powerful novel is inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “We Wear the Mask” (1896): “We wear the mask that grins and lies. . . .”
Simeon Marsalis was born in 1990 and graduated from the University of Vermont in 2013. He has lived in New York, New Hampshire, and New Orleans. As Lie Is to Grin is his first book.