April 24, 2014

‘Freakboy’ by Kristen Elizabeth Clark

Posted on April 24, 2014 by in Fiction, Young Adult

High school athlete Brendan wrestles with pronouns, his girlfriend Vanessa grapples to keep him from shutting her out, while Angel—a trans social worker and mentor—tackles her own demons in Kristen Elizabeth Clark’s beautifully crafted, often confessional, verse novel Freakboy. (more…)

‘Like a Beggar’ by Ellen Bass

Posted on April 23, 2014 by in Poetry, Reviews

Ellen Bass’ new poetry collection, Like a Beggar, exhibits the compassionate voice and celebratory worldview on display in her previous books The Human Line and the Lambda Literary Award-winning Mules of Love. Yet, Like a Beggar has a stronger focus on narratives than her earlier collections. (more…)

‘The City of Palaces’ by Michael Nava

Posted on April 20, 2014 by in Fiction, Reviews

Two splendid novels, both brilliantly written and researched to unimaginable depth, explain a very long silence from two of the very best fiction writers among us. (more…)

‘Dust Devil on a Quiet Street’ by Richard Bowes

Posted on April 20, 2014 by in Reviews, Speculative

 “A writer’s life only becomes clear to him after he writes it,” declares Richard Bowes near the end of his Dust Devil on a Quiet Street. Part memoir, part tell-all, part homage to the city he has lived in for forty-plus years, and part secret history of that same city, Dust Devil is more than just an examination of Bowes’s life, although it definitely has the quality of someone looking back at his life and trying to make sense of it, both to us, and to himself. (more…)

‘All the Heat We Could Carry’ by Charlie Bondhus

Posted on April 17, 2014 by in Poetry, Reviews

All the Heat We Could Carry is a compelling, fierce, vivid, yet sometimes understated and curiously dry in tone, collection of poems by Charlie Bondhus, describing  life as a gay soldier in Afghanistan. Bondhus cultivates a theme of heat: sustained, transferred, endured, enjoyed or suppressed, whether in the desert, the bedroom, the front porch, or the end of a pier. His decision to cloak volatile, profoundly disturbing content may seem counter-intuitive, but is actually dead-on, as this kind of material demands a kind of nonchalance. Otherwise it might feel manipulative and purple. Overblown. There is a quiet precision to Bondhus’ poems, like sealing something dangerous, despairing or grotesque in a glass jar. (more…)

‘Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story’ by Rebecca Coffey

Posted on April 13, 2014 by in Fiction, Reviews

Almost everyone, interested in psychology or not, knows who Sigmund Freud was, but I’d venture to guess that fewer people, unless they’ve studied psychoanalytic child psychology, know who Anna Freud was. I certainly didn’t, until Rebecca Coffey’s new book, Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story (She Writes Press), landed in my lap. (more…)

‘Daughter of Mystery: A Novel of Alpennia’ by Heather Rose Jones

Posted on April 13, 2014 by in Romance, Speculative

Daughter of Mystery: A Novel of Alpennia, is a wonderful book of intrigue and romance. Margerit Sovitre is an orphan who lives with her overbearing uncle, his wife, her sister, and their son. She is the god-daughter of Baron Saveze, a man who has ancestral lands and great wealth.  (more…)

‘Look Who’s Morphing’ by Tom Cho

Posted on April 11, 2014 by in Fiction, Reviews

Look Who’s Morphing (Arsenal Pulp Press), Australian author Tom Cho’s debut book, bills itself as “a fresh, hilarious, and dazzlingly contemporary collection of micro-fictions that explore the slipperiness of identity, race, and gender.” While this may be the case, it reads more like a dream journal being kept by someone with an overactive imagination—in the most somewhat-exhausting-but-mostly-interesting-and-entertaining way possible. (more…)

‘A Map of Everything’ by Elizabeth Earley

Posted on April 8, 2014 by in Fiction, Illustrated

Elizabeth Earley’s novel, A Map of Everything, which contains supplemental illustrations by artist Christa Donner, explores the aftermath of a tragedy and its effects on a family. The story is told in fragments, several of which focus on the experiences and whereabouts of the family’s five children, though the primary protagonist is Anne, the youngest. When Anne’s sister June is involved in a car accident that leaves her with severe physical disabilities as well as permanent traumatic brain injury, Anne begins down a path marked by neglect, self-destruction, abuse, and addiction. The novel not only pieces together a portrait of Anne and her family before and during the event, but shows their progression over the course of two decades, tracing the ways in which their lives continue to be affected by a single traumatic event.

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‘Paris Is Burning’ by Lucas Hilderbrand

Posted on April 7, 2014 by in Nonfiction

In the latest contribution to Arsenal Pulp Press’s “Queer Film Classics” series, Lucas Hilderbrand sets his sights on that legacy object, the fabulous and enduring cultural phenomenon that is Paris Is Burning. One of the most successful documentaries ever made, the 1991 film follows Harlem Drag legends like Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, Willi Ninja and newcomers like Octavia Saint Laurent and Venus Xtravaganza as they compete in Harlem drag balls, dream of fame and struggle as queer people of color in the bustle of pre-Giuliani New York City. Hilderbrand, whose scholarship includes articles on Todd Haynes’ Barbie bootleg, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, and an analysis of “The Art of Distribution: Video on Demand,” embraces the rich cultural text with signature breadth and an impassioned personal narrative. (more…)