Paul Takes the Form of A Mortal Girl

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What to expect

‘Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is quite simply one of the most exciting – and one of the most fun – novels of the decade.’ Garth Greenwell

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 lesbian best friend, makes zines, and is a flâneur with a rich dating life. But Paul’s also got a secret: he’s a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women’s Studies major to trade, Paul transforms his body at will in a series of adventures that take him from Iowa City to Boystown to Provincetown and finally to San Francisco – a journey through the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure.

Andrea Lawlor’s debut novel offers a speculative history of early 90s identity politics during the heyday of ACT UP and Queer Nation. Paul Takes the Form of A Mortal Girl is a riotous, razor-sharp bildungsroman whose hero/ine wends his way through a world gutted by loss, pulsing with music, and opening into an array of intimacy and connections.

‘Playful, sexy, smart, and like nothing else I -or you – have ever read before.’ Carmen Maria Machado

Critics Review

  • Playful and sexy, Lawlor’s novel is a hymn to the pleasures of gender fluidity – but also a tribute to queer theory, LGBT communities and to reading itself.

  • I love this book, in all its ecstasy, wit, and hilarity . . . The liberatory rush of Lawlor’s writing is as rare as it is contagious, not to mention HOT. Paul is on fire, and an antihero for the ages.

    Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts
  • Despite being unapologetically queer, is a book that deserves to break out of the LGBT speciality bookshops . . . Lawlor’s writing is evocative and urgent . . . and very funny

  • I am such a fan. Andrea Lawlor’s prose is restless, muscular and playful . . . It’s a tight satisfying masterpiece

    Eileen Myles, author of Chelsea Girls
  • Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is playful, sexy, smart, and like nothing else I—or you—have ever read before.

    Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
  • Fast-paced and cheeky . . . Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is a touchingly sweet-hearted and deeply cool book . . . you won’t be able to put this book down.

    Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave

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