Thursday, February 15, 2024

Seven top books about sex, love, and intimacy

Annie Liontas is the genderqueer author of the novel Let Me Explain You and the coeditor of A Manner of Being: Writers on their Mentors. Their work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Gay Magazine, NPR, Electric Literature, BOMB, The Believer, Guernica, McSweeney’s, and other publications. A graduate of Syracuse University’s MFA program, they are a professor of writing at George Washington University. Liontas has served as a mentor for Pen City’s incarcerated writers and helped secure a Mellon Foundation grant on Disability Justice to bring storytelling to communities in the criminal justice system.

[The Page 69 Test: Let Me Explain You; My Book, The Movie: Let Me Explain You]

Liontas's new memoir is Sex with a Brain Injury: On Concussion and Recovery.

At Electric Lit they tagged "seven writers [who] write honestly and openly about intimacy, desire, queerness, loneliness, annihilating marriages, enduring and contradictory love, and, of course, soulmates." One title on the list:
Relationship Status: The One That Got Away

The Days of Afrekete by Asali Solomon

The Days of Afrekete opens with a dinner party—mushroom tarts, characters no one would actually want to have to sit next to, a smiling hostess who isn’t feeling especially generous. In the narrative present, Liselle is married to a white lawyer and politician who is being indicted for corruption; at any moment, the FBI might arrive and break up the party. At its heart, Solomon’s novel—inspired by Mrs. Dalloway, Sula, and Audre Lorde’s Zami—follows the searing, tempestuous affair between Liselle and Selena, two young Black women who grew up in Philadelphia. Theirs is a complicated love, a buried love, but one that refuses to be forgotten. And yet Liselle tries very hard to forget (so hard, in fact, that we wonder if Liselle is the one who got away—from herself). The Days of Afrekete is a novel that celebrates queer blackness while interrogating the necessity/cost of choosing security and comfort over selfhood. Solomon is mischievous, sly at dialogue, the friend you go to for tea. A novel as sexy as it is heartbreaking.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue