Seven heartstoppingly gorgeous stories about young transgender life from from the Upper Midwest to New York City.
In seven light-filled prisms of short stories, Emily Zhou chronicles modern queer life with uncompromising and hilarious lucidity. Attending to the intimacy of Gen Z women’s lives, these stories move from the provinces to the metropolis, from chaotic student accommodation to insecure jobs, from parties to dates to the nights after, from haplessness to some kind of power.
Funny and devastating, like a trans Mary McCarthy, Zhou depicts with shocking precision the choices and shifts through which we work on each other and ourselves. Tender, merciless, and gracious, GIRLFRIENDS is a breath of fresh air.
“GIRLFRIENDS sounds a loud bell announcing the change of guard: a generational arrival. Here is a writer who can scrap with the likes of Ann Beattie or Richard Ford but attends parties to which those boomers (or for that matter, we millennials) would never get invited.”–Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, Baby
“Beautifully rendered and utterly compelling, Emily Zhou’s stories remind me of late night phone conversations with a dear friend–a space that always feels fresh, no matter how many social triumphs and dysfunctions are nursed and examined–and where despite impossible ambiguities and distances, love strikes.”–Dodie Bellamy, author of The Letters of Mina Harker and Cunt-Ups
“Reading these pages immersed me in the slow transformative thrill of refusal. Emily Zhou knows how to arrive at an ending. Her stories capture the particular texture of those moments in which we turn away, not yet knowing what we are turning towards, but certain that whatever habits and attitudes we’ve become used to are over.”–H Felix Chau Bradley, author of Personal Attention Roleplay
“Emily Zhou is a writer that doesn’t let you take sides. In these exquisite and discomforting stories characters talk at each other and rarely say what they really feel while their body language and their bodies find a way to make themselves heard. GIRLFRIENDS is untidy, hilarious, heartbreaking, and always satisfying. Zhou is a true witness. This is the fiction we’ve been waiting for.”–Corinne Manning, author of We Had No Rules
“Soaked in melancholy and the easy rhythm of cafe hangs, ad hoc photoshoots, and cutting remarks, these seven sharply observed stories navigate identities, fraying relationships, and the parties and mores of today’s transsexual demimonde. Here Emily Zhou comes fully into her own terrifying powers: a writer to watch, just as she’s watching all of us.”–Jeanne Thornton, author of Summer Fun