* The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

I would characterize The Argonauts as a personal memoir of an unusual family, but that would probably earn me the ire of the author, who rants virulently and almost non-stop about society’s over-categorization of people, so much so that this would-be intrepid reader thought about abandoning the book altogether after a few pages. And the author also uses academic language that stuns and confuses, as in “a heroic gay male sexuality as a stand-in for queerness which remains unpolluted by procreative feminity”. I’m not sure what she means by that…

Still, there are little oases here and there, and more and more as we advance through the book, that offer funny or despairing comments by her partner, a transitioning female, who seems utterly grounded, and funny. He can be anguished, as in “I will never feel as at home in my own skin [as you],” or, upon learning that the baby she is carrying is a girl rather than the boy she wanted, quip “Hey, I was born female, and look how that turned out.” I’d like to meet him.


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