Last weekend Jaimie and I went to a reading by Imogen Binnie, who is touring with her first novel Nevada. Imogen is exactly the type of writer you want to hear talk because she lets her actual life steal into the room, as if you are listening to a punk guitarist, or your extremely hip older sister. She was a mix of eccentric and captivating and self-depreciating. Imogen is on a bizarro road trip that is actually a book tour reading to trans and queer communities dotted like silver stars across North America, which is appropriate because Nevada is also a transgender road trip.
I’m only a quarter of the way through so where I am up to the main character Maria is still riding her bike around New York City, angsting about her girlfriend, and experiencing life through the disruptive film of dissociation. Binnie writes in very raw way. You feel crushingly close to Maria’s anxious and complex thoughts, and it feels unnerving. But luckily, also fresh and funny.
It’s courageous for a writer to take on the narrative of the great American road-trip. In American hands, cars equal freedom. It’s even more courageous when the writer is a transwoman because the great American road-trip has been so intensely masculinist. And yet, as the trans scholar Aren Aizura reminds us, trans lives are filled with travel. So I’m excited about how it will unfold…I think you should buy this book, read it faster then me, and then comment about it.
My partner Jaimie is trans. The launch made us especially miss our trans friends in Auckland. It would have been more fun if we had people to eat gelato with.