Anansi LGTBQ Literature You’ve Got to Read June 27 2016
This is the first year we have had the pleasure of celebrating Pride Month, rather than Pride Week. Pride Month is all about inclusivity and uniting people of all gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientations. If you’re interested in reading novels that directly deals with LGTBQ themes, topics, and issues, we’ve got some titles on our list worth exploring:
Holding Still for As Long as Possible by Zoe Whittall
In this robust, elegantly plotted, and ultimately life-affirming novel, Zoe Whittall presents a dazzling portrait of the Millennial Generation — the twenty-five-year olds who grew up on anti-anxiety meds, text-messaging each other truncated emotional reactions, unsure of what’s public and what’s private.
Holding Still explores an unusual love triangle involving Billie, a former teen idol, now an anxiety-ridden agoraphobic; Josh, a shy transgendered paramedic who travels the city patching up damaged bodies; and Amy, a fashionable filmmaker coping with her first broken heart. With this extraordinary novel, Whittall gives us startlingly real portraits of three unforgettable characters, and proves herself to be one of our most talented writers.
“Breathless, jolting and sputtering with vitality, Holding Still For As Long As Possible explores the inevitable expiry date on lives and relationships, and our white-knuckle struggle to hang on to both.” — Canadian Literature
The Princeling of Nanjing by Ian Hamilton
Ava is in Shanghai for the launch of PÖ clothing. She has invited Xu, and over the course of the glitzy event and a late-night dinner, she detects a certain hesitancy in him. He confides that the Tsai family, headed by Tsai Lian, the governor of Jiangsu Province and a “princeling” — he is the son of a general who was on the Long March with Mao and a member of China’s power elite — is trying to force him and his Triad organization back into the drug business. Xu is already paying millions of dollars a year to various Tsai businesses, but the family wants more and thinks the new venture can deliver it. Xu believes this move would lead to his eventual destruction and feels he has nowhere to turn. If he opposes them, they will crush him. If he goes along with them, he thinks that inevitably the police and military will hunt him down.
Ava sets out to help Xu deter the Tsai family. As she digs into the depth of the family’s wealth and corruption, she gets caught up in a huge tangled web, extending from the U.S. to the U.K., where it reaches the top echelons of political power.
Annabel by Kathleen Winter
In 1968, into the beautiful, spare environment of remote coastal Labrador, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret — the baby’s parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbour, Thomasina. Together the adults make a difficult decision: to raise the child as a boy named Wayne. But as Wayne grows into adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting culture of his father, his shadow-self — a girl he thinks of as “Annabel” — is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life.
“The Montreal-based Winter, a native of Newfoundland, possesses a rare blend of lyrical brilliance, descriptive power and psychological and philosophical insight…A compelling, gracefully written novel about mixed gender that sheds insight as surely as it rejects sensationalism. This book announces the arrival of a major writer.”— Kirkus Reviews
Valmiki’s Daughter by Shani Mootoo
In Valmiki’s Daughter, Shani Mootoo returns to some of the themes she first explored in her breakout book, Cereus Blooms at Night, to offer a hugely entertaining and hypnotically beautiful family saga.The story centers on a wealthy Trinidadian family — in particular, Valmiki, a renowned doctor and loving, if confused, father; and his youngest daughter, Viveka, lively, intelligent, and intent on escaping the gilded cage that protects but also smothers her.
With this masterful novel, Mootoo peels back layers of prejudice to expose the complex interaction of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Discerning but non-judgmental, she eases us deep into the fascinating lives of her characters and creates a juicy, sexy, beautiful book, full of the vigorous stuff of life.
Maggie & Me by Damian Barr
Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes crossed with Billy Elliot, Maggie & Me is a unique, tender, and witty memoir of surviving the tough streets of small town Scotland during the Thatcher years.
“Maggie & Me is a tremendous, surprising read…. [it’s] a book that’s hard to put down, laugh out loud funny and profoundly moving.” — British GQ
“…an excellent read, and a vital reminder of how much we are shaped by the culture which surrounds us.” — The Huffington Post
“Undoubtedly, many readers will be riled at the thought of this positive spin on Thatcher, but Barr is writing from his own, unique perspective – he knows she almost screwed his life up completely, but also acknowledges that she was a glimmer of light in the darkness. It’s a compelling read, which I thoroughly recommend.” — The Herald Scotland