How many books have you read of trans people? By trans people? Good ones?
Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars by Kai Cheng Thom stands out for its distinction of being one of its kind (which is unfortunate). But it also stands out for being lovely and brave.
The memoir is dark, but written with so much brightness that it made me forget how rough her life has been. The aliases she uses, and the fantastical descriptions of events and places are reminiscent of bedtime stories. In reality, it is like the Grimm’s Brothers’ stories – distressing and disorienting, but fashioned in palatable and affable ways.
The poetry in between is poignant. It’s about a pocket knife and the inevitability of having to have one. There’s also a poem about being femme. It reads like a song.
This one is one of those kind of books that affects one’s belief systems. Did you know how very normal it is to be exploited for surgery, for trans people? It was described so casually in this book, that I felt ashamed, illogically and idiotically.
My only grouse is the extent to which she goes to shroud all places’ names. So while the memoir is a real story, it’s also under velvety wraps, with names like “City of Gloom” and “City of Shadows and Lights”. Sigh.
A short read. A good read. One of those kinds that you wish was longer. 4/5.