Detransition, Baby

Torrey Peters. One World, $27 (358p) ISBN 978-0-593-13337-8
Peters’s sharp comedy (after Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones) charts the shifting dynamics of gender, relationships, and family as played out in three characters’ exploration of trans femininity. Reese, a trans woman from the Midwest now living in New York City, is in the throes of an affair with a kinky, dominant, and married man. Ames, Reese’s ex who has detransitioned since their breakup three years earlier, is now with his boss, a divorced cis woman named Katrina. When Katrina gets pregnant, Ames must reckon with his gender once again. Katrina intends to get an abortion if Ames leaves her, and he comes up with a solution so crazy it just might work. He cannot be a father, but he can be a parent (“He knew, however, that Katrina didn’t have the queer background to allow for that distinction”), and Reese, more than anything, wants to be a mother; desperate, Ames asks Reese if she will be a co-mother; he also confesses to Katrina that he once lived as a woman. As Reese, Katrina, and Ames reckon with the possibility and difficulties of forming a family, their quick wit gets them through heavy scenes (Reese on Katrina’s “AIDS panic”: “How retro”). Peters conceives of a world so lovable and complex, it’s hard to let go. Agent: Kent Wolf, Neon Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/03/2020
Release date: 01/12/2021
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-593-13338-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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