cover image Everyone on the Moon Is Essential Personnel

Everyone on the Moon Is Essential Personnel

Julian K. Jarboe. Lethe, $15 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-59021-692-7

Jarboe’s outstanding debut collection demonstrates a flair for queer surrealism and an ear for lyrical prose. In the powerful “Self Care,” a nihilistic youth, who identifies as a “gay transsexual witch,” is displaced by apocalyptic flooding and takes refuge in Our Lady of Good Voyage, a Catholic church. “I Am a Beautiful Bug!” turns Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” on its head with a tale of a person undergoing surgery to look like the giant bug they’ve always wanted to be (“Gimme the works, doctor! Just like Gregor Samsa!”). The pieces range from brief vignettes that read like prose poetry to much longer works like the title story, which tells of a young man deciding to join the masses of ”defunct service cyborgs, addicts, migrants, drop-outs, single parents, [and] estranged children” on the holy colony of the Moon. Throughout, Jarboe melds tenderness, humor, and righteous anger into insightful tales of characters navigating the margins of society. Readers are sure to be blown away. (Mar.)