Cover Image: Manywhere

Manywhere

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Member Reviews

A great collection of stories that explores the complexities of life, love, and relationships. Readers of historical fiction will love the stories that incorporate history.
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DNF. The writing was excellent but I think not in my taste, it got too surreal for my liking. I also struggle with short stories that aren't linked somehow. But again, I think it is likely a great book for the right reader.
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My favorite story was definitely "Bump" as a trans person who has gone through pregnancy weirdness. I loved how so many of these stories were rooted in this deep appreciation for queer history and historical figures, there was something so nurturing to the way Morgan Thomas portrays the past.
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Enjoyed each of these stories, that's rare, Have read Morgan Thomas before and appreciate this new collection. So important to see queer characters written as full and dynamic people, surprisingly still rare.
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Manywhere is a collection of short stories that navigate queerness in various time periods and settings. It's a genuinely beautiful book written with so much heart that you sense it in the prose. It's both intelligent and entertaining, while overall being absolutely queer!
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Unfortunately this one just wasn't for me it seems. When I read the description of the book here on netgalley I was really excited about it and felt confident that I would enjoy this short story collection, so I felt a little surprised and even a bit confused when I started the book and wasn't immediately pulled into the stories. 

It took me a while to get through the first story, and after having made myself read through the second one as well I honestly let myself DNF the book. I think the stories might have been... a little too imaginary for my liking? I'm not sure. But I know that I felt like I didn't fully 'get' the stories I as I read them.

I've mostly seen pretty good reviews of this one from people liking the collection, so I'm sure this is a case of me not being the right reader for the book, or maybe even just a matter of timing.
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2.5 stars

Manywhere is a collection of short stories that talks about different queer and genderqueer experiences throughout various time periods. The writing style is very interesting, and the way it's written is such that the stories are on the border of reality and magic. When I read the synopsis I was very excited to read this, and I expected to love it. The stories are interesting, but I can't say I enjoyed all of them. Maybe some of them went over my head.

While I did think all of the stories were interesting, my favorites were Transit, The Daring life of Philippa Cook the Rogue, and Bump. The ones I enjoyed the least were That Drowning Place and Surrogate - for all I tried, I didn't understand them. The rest I didn't find bad, they simply left less of an impression on me.

All of these stories deal with topics of finding yourself, feeling of exclusion, and finding a place for yourself in the world. They deal with topics of family, of doing what's right for you, and how it affects other aspects of life. I enjoyed the writing style, despite saying that I didn't understand all of the stories. I think the writing is one of the strongest aspects of this collection.

As I mentioned, the stories span several different time periods, with Taylor Johnson's Lightning Man talking about the early 1900s, The Daring life of Philippa Cook the Rogue taking place in part in the 18th century, and The Expectations of Cooper Hill talking about the 1920s and most stories being set in the present day. I am not from the US so I did find myself searching for additional information on many of the things mentioned. I don't mean this in a negative way in the slightest - I enjoyed researching the historical context of some of these stories.

I did like most of the stories' protagonists, even when I didn't enjoy the stories as a whole - I like that all of them felt real. They felt tangible, like real people you may know. They were at times flawed, selfish, and messy but they are human. That's what I think this collection is about - showing all kinds of people and their experiences.

cw: I did want to mention that the first story uses the word g*psy to describe Roma, the context is historic and I suppose that at the time it would've been the commonly used word, but I wanted to mention that. And in the story Transit are depicted eating disorders, and self-harm, so take that into consideration before reading.

My rating might seem like I disliked the book but in truth, with collections, it is inevitable that not all of the stories will work for you. Some of them were simply too vague for my liking. If this collection interests you, I would still recommend it as it is interesting.

I received the arc through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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i really REALLY enjoyed these short stories. roxane gay was right to call them delightfully queer — they had a strong pov, clean and clear prose, great pacing, historical learning, what more do you want!

tysm to net galley and mcd/fsg for this arc, it was a treat!! can’t wait for more from this author.
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Really liked this book! Some stories were better than others and made me want to read more of them (that's the thing with short stories though) - and it shows the author has a really good range, they are very creative. All in all it was great reading this book and I loved the queerness of it all!
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Interesting and thought-provoking collection of both contemporary and historical queer stories set in the American South. I especially loved the stories with a historical character (especially those about Taylor Johnsen and Philippa Cook set in the 17th and early 20th respectively) where intricate plots moving between past and present are imagined around archival facts. Of the contemporary stories I enjoyed Manywhere, a story of a genderqueer person trying to escape the care for their hiking obsessed father. 4 stars because some of the stories I found somewhat convoluted.
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Consider this my official petition for 'Manywhere' by Morgan Thomas to become required reading for anyone who remembers being a queer teen from the South, trying to find themselves in the mid-2000's. 

This isn't to say that folks without this experience won't enjoy this book—the way that Thomas incorporates queerness into each of their stories frames it more like a set piece that further immerses a reader. The places themselves feel like a central characters with a rich history and serve as much importance to the narrative as the people that live in them.

The prose is gorgeous without being overly complex, though its fluidity is both a strength and—to me—a hindrance. While 'Manywhere' checked off all of my usual boxes (character-driven, working-class queers, challenging relationships) I struggled to feel tethered to most of the stories ('The Daring Life of Phillipa Cook' being the exception as I'm a sucker for the epistolary format.)

Overall, if you love an unorthodox kind of magical realism, complicated pasts, and even more complicated characters: I'm excited to introduce you to your next beloved short story collection. 

Thank you to NetGalley and publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Such beautiful and strange and thoughtful stories. They all seem to speak to the connection between the past and the present, and to what connects queer and trans people across time and generations. The writing is gorgeous, too, and blurry—as in, so many lines are blurred, between magic and reality, between different versions of self, between genders.
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i've been loving short stories recently, there's something so good about getting the lil snapshots of people's lives before hurtling on to the next one. this one had such a variety from historical fiction to touches of magical realism, and everything in between. i loved that almost every story was explicitly queer and the many different lives we follow
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I want to thank Netgalley and FSG Books for sending me this e-ARC. (My first!!!) I appreciate it so much. 

Let me start with a statement: 'Manywhere' is one of the best short stories collections I have read this year. Period. It was so delightfully written and the characters felt relatable and close. I loved that the collection was varied and that Thomas experimented with different styles throughout it. The best thing? It is a SUPER queer collection and I am so thankful for it. Wow. It felt so warm and special, please you have to read this ASAP!
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Thomas' collection of stories is intriguing, timely and reads in one sitting; "Manywhere" delves into the subjects of gender, of belonging and of identity, exploring them in a both delicate and sharp.
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Some stories in here ("Bump," "Manywhere," "Taylor Johnson's Lightning Man") were superb. The rest were just okay for me.
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I started reading “Manywhere”, a short stories collection, a bit tentatively as I often have my doubts about short stories. I’m quite traditional when it comes to them, I need them to have a story, a thought, a punch, something to make it feel complete for me. But I didn’t have to worry, as these stories are so well-thought, all of them leaving you with feelings. Some with stronger, some weaker but I guess that’s a given with a collection of short stories.

The characters in “Manywhere” are very different but what connects them is their queerness and the way they are looking for their place in the world. The sense of belonging seems to be often the aim of the protagonists but of course, ‘to belong’ may mean so many things for different people. One would try to find a connection with someone whose story from the past became their own inspiration. One would look for a place they could call “theirs.” Another one – a family, someone who would accept them fully just as they are. These pursuits were sometimes fascinating, sometimes heart-breaking and sometimes I couldn’t connect with them at all, but every time it was interesting to read about. 

“Manywhere” is very human in how it combines tenderness, humour, sadness and even simmering rage into one cocktail. I found some of the stories a bit disturbing, some very melancholic… Surely, it was a very good trip into the world of short stories and I recommend this collection to everyone. Especially, because it also undermines lots of expectations about gender and identity, which is always a good exercise for one’s mind.
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This book was well written but not for me. I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, but overall this wasn't my favorite.
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I first encountered this author through their story "Bump," which was published in The Atlantic, and was pleased to find they had a short story collection coming out. This book is literary, it is queer, it is full of trans characters, it has the voices of our ancestors, it is steeped in a kind of dark magical realism. It was a rare treat and I feel as though I couldn't ask for more from a book.

Several of the stories quoted weird or fantastical letters, journal entries, newspaper articles, and court transcripts. I assumed the quotations were inventions of the author's as the quotations matched the style of the stories. I was so surprised to come across the notes at the end which gave the citations for each of these completely real quotations. Then I felt that I understood the inspiration for the stories more. This book gave me a new feeling, which I think I can name: I didn't know I felt a restless hunger for fanciful and complex fiction about transgender ancestors, until it was finally slaked.

I gratefully received a digital ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

(Posted on Goodreads)
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2.5 stars

TAYLOR JOHNSON’S LIGHTNING MAN- 2 stars

THAT DROWNING PLACE- 1star

TRANSIT- 2.5 stars

THE DARING LIFE OF PHILIPPA COOK THE ROGUE- 2.5 stars

BUMP- 3 stars

ALTA’S PLACE- 3 stars

THE EXPECTATION OF COOPER HILL- 2.5 stars

SURROGATE- 3 stars

MANYWHERE- 2 stars
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