Sometimes books know best when it comes to human race: it’s beautiful how a man can write some unpopular truth about others like him.
And gender is one of that theme: everyone wanna talk about it – especially these days – but no one knows really what he is talking about.
Define what is to be a boy or a girl is something so aged: we live in the era of gender-fluid and agender people, the era where everyone hasn’t to label themselves as masculine or feminine. They can simply be something in between.
Here are my selection for opening your minds about what gender is and make you reflect how underneath the society labels of girl and boy, we all are humans.
Written on the body – Jeanette Winterson
It is hard to review Jeanette Winterson. Every single one of her short novels is a work of art, beautiful and painfully true while magically exploring the limits of reality. In this one she riserve nothing for herself: it’s the story of a genderless first person narrator about a crush for a married woman, Louise. Till the end, we won’t know if the I is a boy or a girl, making us reflect how when it comes to love and passion, nothing has gender.
The left hand of darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
The question that permeates Le Guin’s novel about the ambisexual society is what remains once the male and the female labels are stripped away: what is underneath the labels of masculine and feminine?
It explored the nature of sexuality in an iphotetic future where she goes beyond semiotics, the linguistic significance of gender, and ventures into the philosophy, psychology and aesthetics of gender representation.
She explores the symbolic role of gender, questioning about who really cares of being boy or girl when all we are is human bodies equals in their emotions.
Sphynx – Anne F. Garréta
With sexes mixed and genders blurred Anne Garreta’s spectacular debut novel forces us to challenge our most deep-seated beliefs when it comes to dealing with matters of the heart. Though the people around them are defined as being either male or female, Sphinx’s nameless narrator and their love interest A**** have broken free from this constraint and have elevated both themselves and their relationship to a place where gender markers no longer hold any relevance. What’s left to behold is a shockingly intimate portrait of the complexities of desire, what it’s like to truly lose yourself in another person, and the hidden costs of finally conquering the object of your ultimate affections.
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
Middlesex is the story of a hermaphrodite who grew up as Calliope but discovered in her adolescence that she is actually more Cal than Calliope. More specifically, Middlesex is the story of three generations of a Greek family and social history that enables the existence of Cal, who narrates the story. Through it all, Cal, as a narrator, is clever and endearing. There are few books about intersex people and sometimes it is a big shame because there is a loto f disinformation about it, but this Pulitzer inning book speaks loud about it, making Eugenides (and so Cal) a spectacular narrator that can destroy labels of society.
The Fata Morgana books – Jonathan Littell
A Fata Morgana is a superior mirage, which means that the optical phenomenon appears above the real image on the horizon rather than below it. Caused by a temperature inversion of warm air over cooler these mirages are constantly changing in appearance and tend to wildly distort the objects on which they are based, to the point of making them almost unrecognizable. This is sort of like what author Jonathan Littell does with characters, settings, and situations in his novellas. It’s a lot like it actually, especially in talking about genderless characters and their only thirst for desire.
Commanding in spite of their vagueness, beguilingly easy to read but full of depth and mystery, these novellas explore the in-between spaces: between thoughts, between bodies, between hungers and their satisfactions, between eyes and the things they look at.
The passion of New Eve – Angela Carter
Creating a figure between a boy and a girl, the main character in this Carter’s novel is a new kind of Eve, falling in love with a different type of Adam in a society where couldn’t find her right place condsidered a monster only because of lacking of a label of her gender.
Carter is no new in talking about gender explorations – with feminists ways – and this novel isn’t different: with a beautiful and lyrical prose, she explores what it is to be a woman and a man and what defines gender of someone when it comes to love.
Every Day – David Levithan
Can you imagine waking up every day in the body of someone else? Pretending to be them for a day? Being them for a day? Your soul traveling from body to body, restless.
David Levithan is a very deep type of guy… He creates stories that tackle realities of modern life and depicts profound lead characters that have something intelligent and thoughtful to say about the world. In this case, he talks about a non defined character: he has the body of a boy, then of a girl, then of a trans gender character, he doesn’t define the gender of his main character, but he only talks about love. Even if it is a YA, this book talks straight to our hearts, demanding meditation about why our society has so deep attention to label everything and everyone.
None of the above – I. W. Gregorio
Ever heard of the term intersex? Before coming across this book, I already knew that there were people who looked like a true male/female, but had other parts, but I never really knew anything about this condition other than that. None of the Above opened my eyes to this concept, and I believe everyone should at least give this book a shot. It may be a heavy topic to center the book around, but it was important and meaningful.
Kristin is a realistic narrator. She questioned the universe for her condition, which I believe we would all do if we were in her shoes. Sometimes she also dealt with her situation by making jokes out of it,lightening the theme and defeating the beast with irony.