cover image Tar Hollow Trans: Essays

Tar Hollow Trans: Essays

Stacy Jane Grover. Univ. Press of Kentucky, $21.95 (152p) ISBN 978-0-8131-9755-5

Grover debuts with a stirring exploration of Appalachian queer identity. Writing about her transness and experience of living in the region, Grover rejects the portraits of Appalachia that have been put forth by writers such as J.D. Vance. Her version, rooted in the aughts, comes alive with anecdotes about mall goths and Evanescence fan pages, laid against careful analysis of what made that early virtual world sacred. Though Grover’s verbose prose can betray her academic background, she balances it with accessible personal reflections, and her research begets a unique study of underappreciated elements of Appalachia, including an investigation into the region’s traditional funerary practices. Throughout, Grover wrestles with the complicated nostalgia she feels for the place, even with all the faults she describes: “I long for community because it feels older than society and modernity, older than capitalism, or at least my awareness of it.” Her words will resonate with anyone who has a similarly thorny relationship with home or has also grappled with being “desperate for the freedom and creativity of a time before the rampant drive of metropolitanism seeped into everything, before I became inundated with—implicated in—discourse.” This is a unique, fascinating collection. (June)