An interwoven essay collection that explores the trans experience through themes of water, fish, and mythology, set against the backdrop of travels in Russia and a debilitating back injury that left Horn temporarily unable to speak. In Horn's adept hands, the collection takes shape as a unified book: short vignettes about fish, reliquaries, and antiquities serve as interludes between longer essays, knitting together a sinuous, wave-like form that flows across the book.
Rapturous ... Layered with histories, myths and vignettes about sea life ... The body always adapts, the book argues. As fluid as gender, as a changing tide, it shifts in response to pressures, which are detailed in vivid accounts here ... Horn wants 'language and narrative to carry more physicality.' Voice of the Fish meets this desire with a narrative that swells and recedes, with intimate depictions of the writer’s life as well as more distant tales of Pliny the Elder, a 100-year-old manuscript found in the belly of a codfish, and the history of tattooing ... This baptismal, overflowing narrative that reveals the limitlessness of being — Horn’s clear choice is life and light.
As Horn narrates the various experiences and encounters of their life, they construct a world where fluidity between meanings, between the human world and the natural world, between ourselves and other people, and between our conceptions of who we are and who we should be is not seen as dangerous ... Horn’s work rewrites how so many people think of identity as a fixed thing that is constantly knowable to us, that is an inherent part of our humanity ... What’s especially magical about Horn’s work in this text is that they don’t necessarily attempt to come to some final answer about the questions they pose ... As the book concludes, it becomes obvious that the work of this text is bigger than Horn and their body alone. The text of the book is fragmentary, often jumping between the narration of the various stories of Horn’s life to the historical and scientific information they are juxtaposing it with, and is anchored by a recurring listed essay recounting an experience they had at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Although the nature of the form might be a little difficult for some, the form is part of what makes Horn’s work so appealing to me. Although they don’t explicitly say this, Horn’s work is essentially an archival one.
Horn’s sometimes profound, sometimes baffling autobiographical essays have in common a near obsession with water, aquatic life, and aquarium ... Though the author’s experiences are uniformly interesting and the essays about them well written, the book’s more bizarre elements may be off-putting for some readers. But those who enjoy the offbeat will be right at home.