packetcat reads 2022 Week 27 – Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Pages: 376
Purchased from: Kobo

I think is the first book I’ve read this year that has a explicitly trans main character and it’s also written by a trans author! And folks the book is pretty good! A weird sci-fi plot backdrops the main narrative mixed with elements of magical realism. Ryka makes all of this work wonderfully.

Ryka’s reasons for writing are also important to make people aware of, from a piece from Publisher’s Weekly from 2015:

I am a born writer; I can’t imagine doing anything else. Just as a trans pianist does not limit herself to trans composers, nor a trans doctor to trans patients, as a trans writer, I would rather not limit my stories, my imagination, and my craft. One of my writing professors had a favorite saying: “Writing is a public act.” I take this lesson seriously, prescriptively. In a world where queer, and especially trans people are dehumanized, I think we need more public acts, not merely as demonstrations but as affirmations that our stories, as different as they might be, are exquisitely human.

If a trans musician can make the audience cry by playing Chopin, how else, but as a human, can she be regarded? And if a book written by a queer trans Asian American can make you think of your own beaches, your own sunsets, or the dear departed grandmother you loved so much and even now find yourself speaking to, then what more powerful statement of our common humanity can there be?

Well said. Ryka achieves this with this book as well.