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.
I was not expecting the amount of romance that this book gave me but I’m 100% here for it. A stunning combination of fantasy and romance with interesting characters and a plot that kept me hooked all the way through to the end.
I picked this book up because I saw it on sale on the front page of the Kobo store and I am glad I did. A fantastic tale of magical realism combined with dealing with the issues of mental health, parenting, trauma and just being a teenager. The author handles all these issues with the care they deserve and some of the scenes in this book definitely made cry.
Oh and also this book is a bit of a meta narrative about books, I won’t spoil further but it is very well done.
So it’s cool that the Vergecast is getting a new two-a-week episode format, that’s actually great but man what the hell is up with that new logo? What is that blue background? I think its the worst shade of blue I’ve ever seen and blue is my favourite colour! It looks like its trying to bore a hole into my brain with it garish brightness.
What is that font? It looks atrocious, what did you do to that poor “g”? It looks like a “o” taking a shit. The “t” looks like it had its arms cut off. Just horrid. Let’s the talk about that “The” just hanging out above. Like somebody forgot about the fact that the podcast is actually called “The Vergecast” and quickly fingerpainted it on in yellow.
I can’t even enjoy the cool Vergecast references sitting in the middle because of all the other crap distracting me. Ugh.
Exactly twelve weeks after I read The Song of Achilles, I have come back to Madeline Miller for my Greek mythology fiction fix. And I am mildly disappointed. While this particular story is also very well written and there wasn’t anything I particularly disliked, it just wasn’t as fun to read as the The Song of Achilles. Circe being able to hold her own against the big leaguers of the Greek pantheon is wonderful, love me a nice underdog story.
All of that said, I am down to read more of Madeline Miller’s Greek mythology fiction work, she is quite good at it. Maybe some time next year though, I’ve had my fill for now.