Rave4Columns... vivacious ... a book that merrily skewers straight and queer orthodoxy alike. Savvily constructed as a breakout novel, Detransition, Baby is almost certainly the most buzzed-about book in the history of transgender fiction. And it’s terrific: smart, socially generous, a pleasure, a gift ... What initially seems like an absurdist Shakespearean gender-play plot isn’t that at all, it turns out. It’s instead a feasible proposition, certainly not the first alternative family structure ever dreamed up, but perhaps the first of its kind to appear in literary fiction. Peters explores the cross-cultural frictions it sparks with meticulous nuance and terrific wit ... challenges the anti-reproductive No Futurism of early-twenty-first-century radical queer politics ... Those who are already fans of Peters—author of two audacious novellas written explicitly for other trans women as part of a trans counterliterature—may balk, as I did, at the idea of bourgeois values and the domestic sphere intruding upon her fiction. But the other side of it is this: the installment of trans lives and trans concerns into the arena of women’s literature—and the nuclear family. In any case, this is the same Torrey Peters ... With precisely zero interest in making her characters paragons of respectability, Peters joins a school of novelists (e.g., Alissa Nutting, Ottessa Moshfegh) who revel in the unruliness of resistant women ... The novel’s concerns with trans futurity are centered within a feminist reproductive justice framework. Abortion, miscarriage, IVF, adoption, the history of forced sterilization—all are handled with agility and grace ... Equal parts loving and eviscerating, our narrator knows all and withholds little. If her knowingness can become at times overbearing, it’s a function of her role. Indeed, the novel is so rich with social commentary one could almost miss the soundly built plot whirring softly in the background ... Peters’s brilliant novel blasts through the gates to claim more space for trans futures in fiction.
RaveBookforumThe book is a brain! A peripheral brain that wonders about machine intelligence, consciousness, and itself. My Meteorite: Or, Without the Random There Can Be No New Thing sifts through a relentless stream of inputs, nestling experiences and ideas to discover what might magnetize what. Roaring with thinking, the text might like to rise up and reassemble itself into animate form ... Organized in loosely connected passages that skitter nonlinearly across Dodge’s life, My Meteorite, the artist’s first book, is webby and reliably weird ... The degree of pleasure one takes in this experiment will likely correspond to the degree of giddy thrill one finds in synchronicity ... He incites us to wonder when and how patterns become meaningful ... All this is, to some extent, a ruse, a device to make a pattern out of Dodge’s ruminations. It might get trying if the writing weren’t so viciously, animatedly good ...There’s a restless feeling throughout, as though the text wants to stretch beyond the obligations of cohesion ... I can’t say I followed all its threads, but Dodge’s mystical intimacy quest feeds back steadily and sustains.
Carmen Maria Machado
Rave4ColumnsMachado blasts her own experience with an abusive intimate partner into a sparking arc of story bits ... a fresh and unflinching interrogation of abuse in queer relationships ... Given the limited histories available, Machado’s hyperstoried memoir aims to fill in—even overstuff—this blank ... This book’s impact will be more emphatic, considerably, than a plink. In the Dream House arrives with a thunder that resounds.
PositiveBookforum... a mostly earnest, always engrossing long essay that charts a personal quest for utopia in the form of some kind of home. If this second book is not, frankly, as fun as her first, its pleasures are of an altogether different sort. Low has traded in the no-futurism of her suicidal phantasies in favor of dreams of revolution. A quixotic, improbably sentimental work, Socialist Realism longs for a better world while celebrating the minor joys of this one ... That self—Low’s narrative persona—is somewhat removed, obscured by the frothy buildup of texts she thinks through. More commentator than character, Low is most present as a seeking, questioning I-entity ... may itself be a kind of posturing: autotheory as a new experiment in self-on-self drag ... a searching book; indeed, as the questions keep coming Low achieves a vertiginous effect. Written in an engagingly casual, millennial punk style, it is eminently quotable, yet has moments of glibness ... Staging an evenly matched tug of war between the utopian and the quotidian, Socialist Realism yanks us ruthlessly from one position to the other until the two collapse finally on top of each other.