A book by a gay for the gays
This blog posts contains spoilers and triggers.
It is rare that one finds a good example of representation these days, but here it is: a queer book recommendation. Representation that this previous blog post talks about. Too many queer characters these days are forced to suffer or are one-dimensional or comedic relief. Therefore, this find by a gay author is incredible as well as entertaining.
Queerness as part of identity, not sole identity.
A dystopian young adult novel, Ness brings us queer representation of the kind that we didn’t know we needed. While the main character is gay, his queerness isn’t what moves the story or drives the plot; instead, it adds another dimension to the main character, marks him as one of us and gets on with the story. Queer readers will recognize themselves in his past, like his coming out to his first tentative steps into love and heartbreak; straight readers will, alternatively be given a glimpse of what it is like being queer.
The story itself is futuristic, with elements of the Matrix. (trigger warning) It begins with the main character committing suicide (because of love not because of his queerness) – and this is not a spoiler, it is literally on the back cover of the book. But instead of death, he finds a world, his old world, and sets off a chain of events and mysteries with interesting full-dimensional side characters. The story concludes in a rather surprising way, leaving the ending open to much interpretation.
Thematically the novel touches upon so many things that the readers are often left feeling a whirlwind of different emotions. Loneliness is a big part of the new yet familiar world the main character finds himself in. Guilt (again, not from being queer) is another. Ignorance vs being informed. And ultimately choice (once again, not related to being queer) ends the novel.
In the end, Ness’ novel isn’t so much about a gay main character, but about a main character who happens to be gay. What he experiences, while coloured by his queerness, is not directly related to his being queer; his sexuality is just one side of the multi-faceted prism that makes up his identity. This, we could perhaps agree, is the true notion of representation.
This book is available in large book stores, such as ABC or online at Book Depository. Alternatively, I would consider lending it out from my personal Queer Library under strict promises to return it!
Have you read this book and liked it (or not)? Let us know in the comments. Do you have other queer book recommendation (s) which you would like us to share? Let us know in the comments. Do you want to borrow this book from me? Let me know in the comments!