Short stories, old and new, that will queer up your bookshelf, and won’t take long to get through…
BY MOLLY MOSS
Fed up of the same old les fic? (You know the ones) Can’t be bothered to get stuck into a long novel? Then look no further.
The End of The World as We Know It — Sara Farizan
Award-winning Farizan’s super queer writing should be at the top of your to-read list. Her short story The End Of The World As We Know It, is driven by a strained relationship between Ezgi and Kate, two life-long best friends. The narrative explores their hopes and fears for the future, and tests how they deal when they begin to think that the end of civilization is nigh…
Farizan has also written two novels Tell Me How a Crush Should Feel and If You Could be Mine. Her second, set in Iran, follows two teenage girls as they navigate their attraction towards each other, and is definitely worth checking out.
The Poetics of Sex — Jeanette Winterson
There’s only so many times you can read Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, so how about giving one Winterson’s short stories a go instead? Originally written as a contribution to Granta’s Best Of Young British Novelist issue published in 1993, Winterson’s The Poetics of Sex deals with social stigma around sex, as well as debunking stereotypes associated with homosexuality.
Narrated in first person by Sappho, the narrative is filled with graphic details of her same-sex relationship with Picasso. Winterson’s writing style— allusions, double entendres, and vulgar images — gives society a slap in the face (so to speak) and reinvents a literary space where lesbians can exist authentically.
What happens when you turn Red Riding Hood into a queer Latina girl, the wolf into a transgender French soldier, and the woods into the rolling hills of Mexico in the 1870s? Well, you get McLemore’s Mexican lesbian retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, of course. The story is a telling exploration of a country in the aftermath of a cruel war, and if you haven’t already you should read it because, well, who doesn’t like a queer fairy-tale spin off? Oh, and check out Toil & Trouble while you’re at it.
The Fox — Malinda Lo
Inspired by Chinese and Japanese traditions, Malindo Lo’s fiction is a must-read for anyone in search of a refreshingly female-dominated adventure tale. Her short story, The Fox, set two years after her novel Huntress (which you should also check out), takes the homophobia out of fantasy. It will transport you to a fantasy world where being gay isn’t the only defining feature of the characters and where sexuality is never assumed.
Three Witches — Tessa Gratton
Gratton has both queer and wizardly (yes wizardly— she’s wanted to be a wizard since she was seven) ambitions, and writes stories about magic, monsters and kissing. She has contributed to several short story collections and anthologies — so take your pick.
Her Body & Other Parties — Carmen Maria Machado
This multi-award winning short story collection won the Lambda Award for Best Lesbian Fiction this year. Another fairytale retelling, it blends horror, science fiction, and formal experimentation.
Only reading DIVA online? You’re missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It’s pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.