This gave me some Big Feels.
It's been a few years since I was on a big trans lit kick (Nevada, He Mele A Hilo, The Masker, Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones, a few others I can't recall the exact titles for rn), and I think I forgot what it feels like to feel queer resonance with a work.
The romance here, the descriptions of emotions, touches and responses to touch, intimacy, sex… there were many moments that I read through a film of tears. It felt Good.
But as the book wore on, some of the cracks around the edges started to feel more Significant. In particular, the politics of this world rang hollow for me, to the point of taking away from the rest of the plot some. It is extremely painful for me to watch queerness become deradicalised and more domesticated—more acceptable to cishet, patriarchal, Liberal society. To become a "Blue State" thing. I think this book wants to be radical, but it ends up feeling like a performance of radical politics to me by the end, rather than imagining a fundamental shift to how we live, relate, share, exchange, and—yes—fuck. And I think that lack of fundamental reimagining bleeds into the rest of the text in places, and… I dunno. This kind of thing is Important to me, so it was tough when it fell short. It just felt… very NYC at times.
I'll write a more detailed review in a reply to this review if anyone's interested in particular criticisms; I wanted to keep this spoiler-free.
In any case, fucking good feels when they hit. Pretty interesting scifi or whatever kinds of elements. The pacing was solid, it moved along and kept me reading. It breezed along, was full of beautiful snapshots and gut punch emotional moments, and it was good to read a text with a lot of happy queers—even in hard times. It just… has some weird shit going on that I couldn't ignore.