Book Review: The Collection

The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard

Edited by Tom Leger and Riley MacLeod

A dynamic composite of rising stars, The Collection represents the depth and range of tomorrow’s finest writers chronicling transgender narratives. 28 authors from North America converge in a single volume to showcase the future of trans literature and the next great movements in queer art. I met a girl named Bat who met Jeffrey Palmer / Imogen Binnie — Saving / Carter Sickels — To the new world / Ryka Aoki — The cafe / R. Drew — Black Holes / RJ Edwards — Other women / Casey Plett — Greenhorn / K. Tait Jarboe — Tammy Faye / A. Raymond Johnson — The queer experiment / Donna Ostrowsky — Tomboy of the western world / Terence Diamond — A Roman incident / Red Durkin — An exquisite vulnerability / Cyd Nova — Masks of a superhero / Mikki Whitworth — Stones stand still / Madison Lynn McEvilly — Two girls / Alice Doyle — Runaways / Calvin Gimpelvich — To do list for morning / Stephen Ira — Winning the tiger / Katherine Scott Nelson — A short history of my genders / MJ Kaufman — Ramona’s demons / Susan Jane Bigelow — Dean & Teddy / Elliot DeLine — Malediction and pee play / Sherilyn Connelly — War with waking up / Noel Arthur Heimpel — Cursed / Everett Maroon — Birthrights / M. Robin Cook — Ride home under a thuderstorm / Oliver Pickle — Entries / Riley Calais Harris — Power out / Adam Halwitz

* I read this book a couple months ago and am just getting to the review now… so my memory is a bit hazy and the details are light… *

The Collection represents my first foray into reading transgender fiction, and I have to say that I enjoyed it immensely.

The authors represented in this book are diverse in their styles and storytelling and, presumably, in their identities and experiences.  A common theme that runs through many of these stories, understandably, is that of identity.  What is it that defines our identity?  Who gets to decide our identity?  And how does identity impact our choices and how we live our lives?

While many of the stories had similar themes, they explored these themes differently, giving the reader a more nuanced understanding of the theme and what the writers are trying to say.

Given the lack of transgender representation in media, I hope that The Collection represents an emergence of the prominence of transgender literature.  These tales should not be relegated to the sidelines and read only by transgender people, rather, The Collection should be read by people of all identities and orientations as a glimpse into the lives of other people and a spark of understanding of the lives of other people.  The Collection was a fascinating read.


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