MISSED HER by Ivan E. Coyote


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Queer fiction from Canada, more anecdote and personal reflection than stories per se, a number involving a character named Ivan Coyote (The Slow Fix, 2008, etc.).

The sexuality of Coyote is never far from the center of her narrative arc. She reflects on growing up different in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, and on having the persona but not the language for “butch.” Many of her stories revolve around family—an alcoholic father who eventually remarries his childhood sweetheart, a grandmother who has an affair while her husband is out of the country on a job—while others reflect Coyote’s preoccupation with gender and identity, though the line between the themes of family and identity is blurry. In “Objects in Mirror Are Queerer Than They Appear,” for example, after sifting through a photograph album and seeing pictures of herself as a child, Coyote tries to track down when her family knew she was different. Her Uncle John affirms and reassures her by saying, “ ‘We were just glad you weren’t stupid. There’s no cure for stupid.’ ” In “Some of My Best Friends are Rednecks” Coyote feels shame because a stereotypical “man-hating lesbian” berates one of Coyote’s friends for reading her book on a bus. “Straight Teens Talk Queer” focuses on how a group of kids at a Vancouver Public Library book camp look at issues of homophobia, and Coyote draws comfort about the possibility of cultural change from their attitude of acceptance. Other stories give us advice about how to get on the “road to repair” after a failed love affair (“Step One. Get up. Do it now. There you go.”). A follow-up to this story involves the “butch version of the ten steps to getting over the ex” (e.g., “Get a haircut…Road trip…Going places with your dog in your truck”).

Fairly short ruminations, all written in a plain, unambiguous style.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-55152-371-2
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2010


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by Carol E. Anderson