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Paul takes the form of a mortal girl
2019
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Summary
"HOT" --Maggie Nelson
"TIGHT" --Eileen Myles
"DEEP" --Michelle Tea

It's 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, makes zines, and is a flaneur with a rich dating life. But Paul's also got a secret: he's a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Paul transforms his body and his gender at will as he crossed the country--a journey and adventure through the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure.
Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is a riotous, razor-sharp bildungsroman whose hero/ine wends his/her way through a world gutted by loss, pulsing with music, and opening into an array of intimacy and connections.
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Booklist Review
Paul is a man of many talents: besides being a part-time bartender and a mediocre college student, he excels at knowing when people were open to having sex, having sex, being gay. He also happens to be a shape-shifter, able to change his gender and appearance to varying degrees. Lawlor's debut novel follows Paul from mid-1990s Iowa City to Chicago, San Francisco, and beyond as he begins experimenting with his secret abilities. Unsure of his real identity or desires, Paul follows his whims, swinging from a wildly sexual Midwestern flaneur into half of a monogamous lesbian couple. Even as Paul drifts and changes, Lawlor knows his heart and character so completely that each new identity just expands on the Paul readers have always known, rather than feeling fractured or jarring. In the end, Paul begins to see the beauty of being many things at once something Lawlor understands, too. The novel plays beautifully with contradiction and genre: it's a coming-of-age fairy tale without the easy moral, a mix of comedy and tenderness and backroom sexual exploits.--Winterroth, Amanda Copyright 2017 Booklist
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