Allison Banks, the long-divorced mother of a teenager on the cusp of college, has at last fallen in love. The object of her desire? Dana Stevens, a professor at the nearby university and her instructor for a summer film and literature course. Her daughter watches with pleasure her mother's newfound happiness, but Allison's ex-husband, Will, the president of Vermont Public Radio, is jealous. Still secretly in love with his ex-wife, he finds himself unsettled by the prospect of Allison's attachment to another man.
Yet Dana is unlike anyone Allison has ever been with: attentive, gentle, kind - and an exceptionally ardent lover. Moreover, it's clear that Dana cares just as deeply for Allison. The only stumbling block? Dana has known always that in actuality he is woman and he will soon be having a sex change operation.
At first Allison runs, but overwhelmed by the depth of her passions, she returns. Can the pair's love transcend both the biologic imperatives that are their bodies, as well as their ingrained notions of sexual preference? Moreover, can their love survive the outrage of the small community in which they live?
©2000 Chris Bohjalian; (P)2000 Random House, Inc. Random House AudioBooks, A Division of Random House, Inc.
I'm a longtime fan of Chris Bohjalian, and have relished all of his fiction. It's no surprise to me that this book received a quiet reception, since one of its central characters is trans-sexual -- a complicated and mis-understood phenomenon. Bohjalian doesn't shy away from exploring the full range of conflicts and questions that arise when Dana, a male professor, falls in love with Allison in the tiny town of Bartlett, VT -- and then announces that he's in the process of gender reassignment. The complexity of this relationship includes its effects on Allison, a school teacher, and the town's residents.
Allison's ex-husband, Will, and their daughter, Carly, are the other 2 characters that Bohjalian lends equal voice to as the novel shifts perspective over and over.
Judith Ivey has done a phenomenal reading: she uses slight "accents" to distiguish between the multiple characters' perspectives. She also has a knack for bringing Bohjalian's thoughtful prose to life.
Overall, this is one of the most compelling, intriguing books I've iPodded off of Audible. The timing of the story is just right, and the details and texture of its unfolding are satisfying. I didn't want it to end!
The one caution I would grant to possible listeners is that some people are sure to have trouble listening to a novel that so prominently features trans-sexuality. Personally, I enjoyed it because I have several trans-sexual friends and this book is a marvelous portrayal of the breadth of a TS character; it is never sensationalistic. You WILL learn a great deal through Bohjalian's characters, and so I encourage you to take the risk.
This is an excellent book, well read too. The story is intriguing with a man undergoing a sex change operation. But it is not clincal. There are numerous relationships with his girlfriend prior to the surgery and afterwards. One learns to view these people as people and the feelings that they have. The inclusion of fake NPR segments give the book added punch. It is a hard book to put down and I highly recommend it.
This one kept me interested from beginning to end. I would have listened to the whole book in one sitting if I could. As a straight man, it always intrigues me that some guys undergo sexual reassignment surgery, the steps they take and why they do it. I respect anybody who isn't afraid to be who they are despite all the shallow minded people in society.
Why ever would I do that?
Midwives equals EXCELLENCE
Trans-Sister Radio equals WASTE OF TIME
Read Midwives TWICE ... you'll love your time investmenrt!
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