In April I’ll continue to focus on reading LGBT fiction, while also starting to selectively make my way through the longlist of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Having already read Milkman and Freshwater this year, as well as Circe in 2018, I’m planning on reading one title from the longlist each week for the month of April. My choices are based on what I think I’d most enjoy from the reviews I’ve read: Ghost Wall, The Pisces, Normal People, Number One Chinese Restaurant.
The Pisces seems like a smart subversion of the romance genre, Ghost Wall an atmospheric quick read with feminist themes, Number One Chinese Restaurant a sharp debut. I read Conversations with Friends last month, and I already know that I enjoy Rooney’s style of writing—so I’m especially excited to check out Normal People.
I plan to pair these with a few contemporary LGBT novels: Her Body and Other Parties, The House of Invisible Beauties, Less, Call Me By Your Name.
The House of Impossible Beauties and Her Body and Other Parties have received rave reviews, and both seem to thoughtfully explore important subjects (gendered violence, trans history). Call Me by Your Name has a promising premise, and I’m curious to see how the author handles it; I’m one of the few who disliked the movie, as I’m not a fan of Chalamet’s acting and the storyline’s execution felt corny to me. Less has bored me each time I’ve picked it up, but I’m giving it a final try.
And, if I have the time, I’d also like to try several classic LGBT novels: James Baldwin’s Another Country, Yukio Mishima’s Spring Snow, Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, Gore Vidal’s The City and the Pillar, and John Rechy’s City of Night.
Rechy, Baldwin, and Mishima are all authors I already enjoy, and I’m happy to have the chance to read more of their novels. Patricia Highsmith and Gore Vidal are new to me, but both had such a large impact on gay/lesbian lit that it feels like a big oversight not to have yet read any of their work.
Next month I’ll shift to reading works of social and cultural history authored by women, from the works of Naomi Klein to Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City.
If you’ve read any of these authors or books, I’d love to discuss their work in the comments!