Dysphoria Blues

Grace Byron at the LARB:

JUST ANOTHER CASE of the dysphoria blues. Between online avatars, dysfunctional families, unruly Zoom rooms, and the ever-present threat of violence, the characters of Luke Dani Blue’s debut story collection Pretend It’s My Body struggle to feel at home in their bodies. Many are caught in gender friction, a stasis where change and staying the same both seem impossibly miserable. Pretend It’s My Body does not present easy narratives about relieving that friction; instead, Blue questions the way legible gender creates social mobility. This is the sticky, grim mess Blue leads us through, populated by paranoid mothers, women who may be men, and those who wish to do away with gender altogether. Apocalypse comes in small and big packages: a tornado roaring across the countryside, the Holocaust reaching Lithuania, fake shamans arguing over children, or the sun obliterating the planet as a girl goes down on her best friend who “smell[s] like sweet ruin.”

more here.