“Her whole life is the abusive boyfriend she’s finally leaving, and everyone is rooting for her.” — basically sums up Nevada by Imogene Binnie for me.
I love Binnie’s aggressively chatty writing style. She writes like people actually tell stories in real life, so the prose just flows off the page and down your throat like water on a hot day. No matter what Maria is up to on the page, mundane or having gigantic revelations, it’s always interesting. This is a book that just simply doesn’t have those bits you skim or skip, or those bits you have to read 12 times to figure out what just happened or because you realized you were thinking about something else when your eyes were traveling over the page. You’re just not, because she pulls you in so hard and then makes it easy to stay.
I need to check with my friends to see if anyone has already read it, because I’m not sure I understand the ending. There isn’t one, not really — it’s literary fiction so I’m pretty sure we’re not owed one. I feel satisfied anyway even without it, because reading it was a positive experience for me and because it contains so many well-written and well-described insights.
There is trans pain in this book, written from the inside, and its authenticity adds another layer to its quality. I feel like “this might be validating for you if you’ve ever felt the same type of pain as any of the book’s trans women” might be condescending coming from me, a cis woman, so if that’s the wrong thing to say, I apologize.
Cis people: a trans woman wrote this, so you’d learn a lot to read it and learn from the book’s multiple trans women characters, who are going through different things including a denial of surgery for other-bad-health-related reasons, not being sure if they ‘count’, and leading lady Maria’s sense that she’s suppressed her emotions in front of other people for so long because of a childhood of trying to act male that she may not know how to undo it.
Edited to add that I loved the deadpan sarcastic asides about how talking over rapid-fire emails back and forth reminded Maria of using AOL chat “like our ancestors did” — that kind of thing cracked me up.