RaveThe ObserverOne of the best books to contend with the politics of desire ... The essays in Srinivasan’s new book balances historical analysis with a deep sense of how feminist philosophy functions in online and academic discourse, how it travels through whisper networks, and how it uneasily joins and diverges from other anticapitalist struggles. She can levy an acidic \'perhaps\' to send shivers down the spine of an argument she is about to perform decisive surgery on ... a fascinating and exciting work that contends with a full spectrum of ideas, even when gaps begin to show. In one essay, Srinivasan quotes a professor that there will \'still be heartbreak in utopia.\' This is the kind of nuance and fraught response this book can bring to feminist philosophy.
MixedObserverSohn’s treats sex radicals and reproductive rights with the aplomb of a former sex columnist ... This makes the book sound like a fun romp through progressive rights that tells us where we’ve been and how it can indicate where to go. It’s not. Nor is it an activist’s guide to girlbossing the future. Sohn skates over a variety of issues these white women themselves ignored ... It reads like a rebranding of Margaret Sanger’s work despite the fact that she and many free love advocates of her time held deeply racist and ableist ideas around population control ... If there is to be something drawn from Sohn’s book it is the way even activists like Sanger will throw someone under the bus for the sake of political purity. For his own part, Comstock seems like a man hellbent on destroying his own sexual thirst. Clearly he hated women but I’m not sure Amy Sohn proves this in her book. Instead he reads as just another man who wanted to outlaw desire, ghost sex and all.
Roberto Bolaño, tr. Natasha Wimmer
RaveThe Observer... despite the twilight horror, Bolaño writes beautifully. His maze is full of terror and fear, focusing on the experience of young men and their driving anger. If Murakami is seeking a cure to the loneliness of globalization, Bolaño is more worried about the violence of globalization. Often his characters witness tremendous trauma inflicted by the Pinochet regime’s coup. His characters continually reckon with the use of poetry in a war-torn world ... Bolaño constantly builds a web of fragments for readers to collect and relish ... Like Bolaño’s own stories-within-stories, the endless book projects toted out by his publishers lead us further into a video store with a basement and a secret tunnel leading us through the sewers to a secret library ... This world of collisions, mazes, hiding, and art is its own galaxy to explore. Cowboy Graves offers an intriguing and at times fragmentary detour into Bolaño’s world.
RaveThe Observer... a love story, a classic tale about how to build a family. It’s a huge, funny, heartbreaking romp of a book. It is also this year’s State of Queerness novel. Every year or so the publishing industry decides it’s time to give the gays everything they want: in one book only...This is an exaggeration, of course, and Detransition, Baby is about much more than gender, but the publishing industry’s refusal to grant a longer list of queer and trans novels is something we should all relish the chance to point out ... The novel takes a lot of stabs at explaining both Trans 101 and trans embodiment. In this way it has an appeal to both straight people and for trans people in its poignant moments of, as one character describes it, \'gender-feels.\' This is a strength and soft spot for the novel. Its characters think. A lot...Sometimes it can feel like the book wants to tackle every issue. But this is also, admittedly, what it can feel like to be a trans person today. Everyone has a take. And everyone thinks theirs is right. In this way, Reese and Ames are typical and even beautifully drawn ... Peters is incredibly insightful. Through her characters she is able to espouse and challenge many contemporary trans issues.