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The Edges of Identity

Fawn Parker—whose most recent publication is the novel Set-Point, which “takes us to the very edge of identity, virtual and lived,” according to poet Kateri Lanthier—recommends eight books dealing with issues of identity, sexuality, and mental health. 

Heroine, by Gail Scott 

A Montreal woman masturbates in her bathtub, musing on her involvement with the '70s leftist movement, a polyamorous romance with a man always just out of reach, and her own personal identity cast against other women, other artists. Gail Scott blends poetic prose, stream of consciousness and “new narrative” (term coined by Soup magazine) to bring the reader right into the room with her protagonist. The line blurs between tense, story, character, and body. 

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Sodom Road Exit, by Amber Dawn

Starla Mia Martin moves back home to what feels like a ghost town (C …

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Chelsea Rooney: Books on Sexuality and Gender

Chelsea Rooney is the author of Pedal, which Steven W. Beattie recommended as a dazzling debut that "delves into situations and characters that many people will find uncomfortable... but does so in a manner that is intelligent and in no way exploitative." Beattie called Pedal "a brave book", and that same brave spirit (as well as Rooney's excellent prose) is on display in this list of books about sexuality and gender.

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Book Cover Pedal

My novel, Pedal, looks at some uncomfortable areas: pedophilia, rape and child sexuality. (It’s also a funny book, I swear.) I took an inventory of works that deal with sexuality and that have stayed with me over the years. Revisiting them to remind myself of why they are important was a fascinating and uplifting experience: a good story lasts forever. It’s always there to hold you when you need it.   

Dead Girls, by Nancy Lee

This was my first read when I moved from rural Nova Scotia to Vancouver at the age of eighteen. I read the second story, “Sally, in Parts,” on one of my very first bus rides—when I still thought you ha …

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