RaveLambda Literary... doesn’t follow any conventions ... This debut novel is braided together with so many invaluable tools for surviving trauma, and the end of times, through nontraditional relationships. Queerness is centered in this narrative like the prize jewel it is: hard won, and with incredible strength ... This story is a triumph, both of will and of craft. It is always vital to remember that queerness can be celebrated and fought for, and having novels that accomplish this with grace and aplomb make these stories timeless.
RaveLambda LiteraryThe new book by Chavisa Woods...sat unread on my nightstand for a good week before I managed the courage to pick it up ... Still, the very upfront title had both repelled and intrigued me, and once I started the book I didn’t put it down until I’d finished it ... What Woods has done in chronicling her experiences is multifaceted: she has created a prism that shows the true, lived experiences of feminized bodies in the world; she has shown the progress of compounded trauma; and she has, by naming it and logging it, shown how persistent, every day, and accepted the behavior is. We need work like Woods’ memoir in the world ... by showing the omnipresence of gendered violence, she is showing the seams of patriarchy ... This text is not only a vital read for those who have experienced gender violence, but also for those looking to enact real allyship and create real change in the world. I suspect this text will become a vital tool for teaching, reclaiming, and collectively mourning for years to come.
PositiveLambda Literary...the collection is accessible for anyone wondering about identity, construction, destruction, and human connection in a digital world, in a world further disembodied by the Internet—and yet. The Internet is the modern gay bar. The Internet is how marginalized communities connect to one another. And Choi, as marvelously outlandish as it sounds, manages to both condemn and celebrate this most illustrious tool of society. She does so in language lyric and logical, befitting the behemoth task of taking on the world, and winning.
Tammy Lynne Stoner
PositiveLambda LiteraryThis novel is a fun and quick read, and a quirky change from the usual, rural coming out story. The characters are humorous and self-effacing, and their wit holds up even more starkly against the harsh landscape of the Texas politics they find themselves enmeshed in. What’s more is that Dara is an excellent reminder that not all lives go in one direction: coming into oneself can happen at 15, or it can happen at 65.
Frances De Pontes Peebles
RaveLAMBDA LiteraryAn absolute masterpiece ... Peebles is a master at sustaining dramatic tension, a wizard with intrigue and language, and a skilled curator of intimacy. She knows when to give context... and when to allow a thing to be a thing ... Even more challenging is the ability to be able to create unapologetic antiheroes, which Peebles excels at ... The tension created by these elements—the sociopolitical context, the drama of interpersonal relationships and queerness, and the high-stakes nature of subsisting off art—make a masterful book, sure to enthrall from beginning to end.
RaveLambda LiteraryYrsa Daley-Ward’s newest book...does not run across the pages like a traditional work of creative nonfiction. Nor does it fall squarely into a hybrid/prose poetry format ... Yet, even though we (the readers) do not have a template for this style of memoir, there isn’t a single moment in which the prose, which often breaks off into line breaks, sometimes split into two crutches on the page—there isn’t a single moment where that sort of lineation doesn’t make emotional and intellectual sense ... The Terrible doesn’t fall prey to the trope of art wherein a character finds out they are queer and then lives life forever doomed. Instead, the characters in the memoir triumph in the middle, and sometimes because of the tales of their lives.
Blanche McCrary Boyd
RaveLambda LiteraryOne of the confusing and wonderful things about this protagonist is that nothing about her is straight forward—not her history, nor her positionality, nor her sexuality. The reader is allowed to experience a wide-berth of empathy for a wild cast of characters, all through the ever-changing lens of Ellen’s shaky perspective. It isn’t so much that she is an unreliable narrator—perhaps the opposite is true. She is reliable in a way that takes true grit and complexity, which is to say, a roving, punny, anti-hero. Boyd’s protagonist allows the novel to showcase a true understanding of the current American political landscape, without being academic, inaccessible, or polemic. What results is a novel that is riveting from start to finish.
RaveLambda LiteraryThe novel is a profound success that manages to take its place in the canon of excellent war literature while also maintaining a kind of magical surreality—how could such tenderness endure when the world is ripped asunder? But it does. At moments, the narrative even veers into Gabriel García Márquez territory with its mastery of human complications and conditions, its holiness of unrequited love.
No matter what genre you choose to taxonomize this fine novel, it remains certain: this is an astounding read, a best-of, and a masterful treatise on enduring.