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Annabel – discussion thread

Timothy Kincaid

February 22nd, 2011

While the death of gay-themed book stores (and the waning of traditional book stores in general) has cut back on one’s ability to peruse shelves of books with gay themes and characters, there is still an abundance of gay literature available. You may have to search online, but it is there.

Books on gay politics, theory, history, biography and erotica abound. But nothing is more important than novels, books which tell our stories and which connect us to the world. Fiction removes the specifics of real situations and generalizes in a way that allows a reader to step outside their world, empathize with a character, and share a new experience.

And there are many many novels available which express the lives of gay men. Some of them are even worth the time to read. Fewer, but still present, are novels which share the dreams, passions and possibilities of gay women.

But novels – or fiction of any sort – which share the lives of the trans members of our community are almost unheard of. And what fiction that does include trans characters or stories can feel a bit like ‘oooh, look at the freak’ or Very Very Earnest, neither of which make for a particularly pleasurable read.

So when I ran across Annabel by Canadian author Kathleen Winter my interest was piqued. I picked it up on whim, and I’m glad I did.

Annabel isn’t strictly a trans story (the main character was born intersex) but it does speak to gender discovery and is likely to have feeling of familiarity to both intersex and trans people. This is not my story or my experience, so I can’t be much of a judge as to its honesty or accuracy.

While this book is not without some technical and literary flaws, I’m enjoying the story. However, I wonder what our trans and intersex readers think. Have any of you read the book?

Please share with us your perspectives on this book or on other trans literature.

NOTE: I’m still a few chapters from finishing – and no doubt there will be others who will want to pick up the book without having the story spoiled – so please don’t give away of the plot.

Comments

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Matt
February 22nd, 2011 | LINK

I haven’t read the book, but am intrigued. I don’t know how much time you or the other contributors have to read for pleasure, but I would love to see more posts like this one — like a little mini/online book club — and I’m sure we can all use a break from politics every once in a while.

Edwin
February 22nd, 2011 | LINK

Sounds like an interesting book.
I belong to a book club called Inside Out I think I will go on line to see if they have it.

Kitty
February 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Just picked this up for my Kindle: really looking forward to a good read. I would also enjoy seeing some more book sharing here on BTB.

Thanks for the recommendation.

James
February 24th, 2011 | LINK

Does the character identify as a boy, a girl or neither?

Timothy Kincaid
February 24th, 2011 | LINK

James, that would be a plot point, so we won’t divulge it. :)

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