Cover Image: Nevada

Nevada

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Member Reviews

I know this book was written many years ago — and it had to be, given how well it channels the freshness of internet forums — but it really feels so present. Reminds me of Torrey Peters, and I know Torrey endorses this book greatly. The book's first half was my favorite — it creates a character so believable and alive, it's a joy to be in her head no matter how troubled she is. And the second half had me guessing the whole time. How fun. Imogen Binnie, keep 'em coming please!!
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This is both a great novel and a great historical document of a time that actually was not so long ago, but feels like truly a million years ago.
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Absolutely gorgeous! I really loved this one, the relationships reminded me a lot of Casey Plett's short stories in the best way. Such a special piece of trans literature that is clearly important for a reason. The ending falls a bit flat but the author's afterword addresses that so well. A fantastic read!
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Not for me. I love books with different characters who have different sexualities etc but this felt like the author wanted to write a non fiction teaching us about sexuality but then decided to throw some characters in to make it fiction
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I was iffy about this one. I never really got into it, and felt uncomfortable most of the time I read it.
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4.5 Stars!
New favorite added to the shelf! Imogen Binnie inserts the reader into the mind of transgender characters and the compare and contrast between their experiences. I found myself very intrigued by Maria and James even in their most unlikeable moments. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to read more queer and/or trans authors or story lines. Thank you to NetGalley and FSG for the e-book!
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This book was a phenomenal commentary on the traditional hero's journey. This text could be an excellent companion piece to many books within the western canon, as it provides rich, textured characters from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. The moral attitudes of narration (or lack-thereof) allow for nuanced character analysis, and provide readers with a beautiful view of life in all its messy, destructive, fleeting joy and terror. Trans narratives forever!!
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A beloved and blistering cult classic and finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction finally back in print, Nevada follows a disaffected trans woman as she embarks on a cross-country road trip.

Nevada is wonderful. Worth the hype and more than deserving of cult status. Staff pick!
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Nevada, by Imogen Binnie

“Nevada is so dead set on treating one trans women’s experience with honesty bcause I was so fucking exhausted and sad that my own wasn’t treated that way. I felt invisible to the world at large and invisible to the demimonde, so it was kind of a shout that I, and therefore we, exist.”

I loved Maria Griffiths, the main character of Nevada. There was something so honest and muddled and contradictory about her reflections; it was endearing to me. She was reckoning with her identity as a queer trans woman and her years of coping strategies to try to be safe and healthy in the world. Using her big brain, and theory and literature, to make sense of it all only got her so far, but it did help her explain things to herself and to us. Unfortunately it did not help her make sense of her feelings in her relationship, seemingly good on the outside and distant and dying on the inside. 

The first part of the book is about how the relationship ends and the second part is about how she tries to make sense of its dissolution on a road trip. There are a few other characters, most notably James–who is unlike any character I’ve met in a book–but generally this is about Maria, her bike, her thoughts, and stealing a car.

What I liked:
–Maria was so messy, but it was clear that so much of the problem was that gender is fucked up and so finding  peace with yourself, your body, and how you are read is not just about transphobia, but about capitalism and patriarchy. I related so much to feeling like all this gender nonsense is a performance, and also loved the specificity of her experience as a trans woman in all the muck. As a cis person, I can talk about how gender if a construct, blah blah blah, but for Maria, it is always a fight to protect her right to a trans life. 
–James was at such an interesting point in his life, and I don’t want to give much away here, but we don’t get inside the head of people like him very often. Can you be open and repressed, enlightened and ashamed at the same time? I think Binnie says yes!
–Her friendship with Piranha was lovely. This book shows how important having people in our corner is. And it also shows how when we let them down it totally sucks.
–Her rides around New York had me ready for a visit, and this time, I will be touring late at night on a bike.

What was hard:
–Look, I’m embarrassed to say this, but everyone who knows me IRL knows I am a big, big square. So I’m just leaning into it. But this book had so many drugs. There was a lot of being high and smoking up and heroin (!). I can never tell if my reaction to drugs in books is my shit rearing its head (alcoholic fathers, 80s Just Say No influence, general control issues) or if the criticism is valid. But it seemed to me that Binnie was trying a little too hard to capture a Hunter S. Thompson vibe. I know that in a book chock-a-block with realism, drugs can be a part of life that deserve depiction. I just kept thinking everyone needed to stop avoiding their feelings with potentially dangerous shit.
–The second half felt a little unresolved. Some of that is intentional, but I wanted a post credits epilogue. Or two more chapters to sort of wrap things up.
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There is a reason so many people say this book paved the way for modern trans writers. It was brilliantly mundane, a side of transness that wasn't exploited like so much of the media we get is. This was so worth it for the afterward alone!
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I really enjoyed this! it was equal parts messy and beautiful. Thank you netgalley & the publisher for the ARC, in exchange for an honest review!
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Probably around a 3.75 star. I was unsure about this one when I first started the book but grew to really like it. The narrative voice took some getting used to as did some of the repetitive language but as I spent more time with the main character, I didn't mind it as much. I was also unsure about the POV switch at around the halfway point of the book but also ended up really enjoying the addition of James's character. This book was messy and loud and clever and I am so glad it got republished.
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This re-print of an important work of trans literature was excellent. I really liked the relationship between the protagonist, Maria, and James, and how she tried to mentor James. I always love a road trip novel as metaphor for finding yourself.
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I’m so glad this book was re-released, it’s just as important now as it was when it first came out. This is an excellent own voices representation of so many aspects of queerness. Love it!
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I received an advanced reader copy of Nevada by Imogen Binnie in exchange for an honest review.

As a trans woman I’ve been making an effort to discover and read more books by trans authors. Every list I looked up, bar none, always listed Nevada by Imogen Binnie as a must read. I was surprised to find it on NetGalley, since it came out so long ago, but I believe they’re reprinting it with a bigger launch, so that’s why they made it available on there.

I went into reading Nevada knowing absolutely nothing about it, other than it being a trans classic. Turns out it’s about a trans woman who goes on a road trip after ending her relationship and losing her job. The book is written in two parts; part one describes the events leading up to the road trip, and part two presents an encounter she had on the road. 

The protagonist Maria is painfully unlikeable, but in many ways relatable. Her defense mechanism of checking out mentally, struggling to get in tune with her emotions, and even minor day-to-day thoughts and behaviors felt so authentic to the trans experience. 

If I’m being honest, the first part of the book was a bit of a bore. I felt like I was spending too much time with Maria’s thoughts, and could have begun her journey abroad sooner. However, part two is where this book really clicked for me. It’s from the perspective of an “egg,” a transgender person before they realize they’re trans, named James. Initially I thought James and Maria might have been the same person because of how similar their experiences were. But then Maria shows up like a fairy-godmother and takes James on a journey to crack his egg. This part of the story was phenomenal. I so much loved their conversations trying to understand each other’s identities. Part two alone is an excellent five-star read, and retroactively I respect that part one was necessary for us to truly appreciate the events of the second act. I also loved the way this book ended. While I could see an argument for it being disappointing, I felt it was an appropriate way to end the story. 

Possibly my favorite part of the book is Maria’s blogging, where she attempts to invent new transgender stereotypes. This was hilarious! The generalizations she made about trans women were spot on and had me cackling in public.

This reprinting of Nevada contains a new afterword by the author. I really valued this section because it contextualizes Binnie’s influences and inspirations that went into writing the book. She also discusses her reasons for intentionally setting Nevada both before and after, but not during, transition. I hadn’t picked up on it as I was reading, but after reading her argument for that I’m so glad that she wrote it that way. 

So why is this book considered a classic, when it’s not even a decade old? Well a lot has changed in the past ten years. This book was released before Eliot Page and Caitlyn Jenner publicly transitioned, it even came out before Laverne Cox appeared on Orange is the New Black. Nevada predates the “Transgender Tipping Point.” Even nowadays with the progress we’ve made, it’s still a challenge to get published as a trans author. For Binnie to publish this book in that time was no small feat. Nevada is a classic, and one that should be read by anyone with an interest in trans literature.

Thank you NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, MCD x FSG Originals for the advanced reader copy.
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This book was an absolute wild ride! To have such a flawed, complex, mess of a character own all of herself and her life was so enthralling. 

This is a person dissecting their life so openly and examining their choices, their actions, and it was so interesting. Then seeing her try to “help” someone she thinks mirrors her younger self. The balance of the two parts was so well done. 
And while I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, the psychological gymnastics the book made me do more than make up for it. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the ARC!
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First, thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this novel in exchange for fair and honest feedback.

I overall enjoyed it. I loved all the messy parts, the beautiful parts, but sometimes the characters seemed unlikeable in the Not So Compelling way. Not all the time, just here and there, where it jars you out of the story. Generally speaking, the writing is beautiful, the structure is nice, and it's wonderfully written.

4.5/5 (rounded up)
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I read this in two sittings - the first, flying through Maria's story, and the second- flying through James'. In 2013, Nevada was deemed a landmark of trans literature, and with a brand new afterword by the author, this is a must read!

Imogen Binnie wrote two characters - Maria, who is in the midst of a challenging relationship, unfulfilling job and personal struggles in NYC; and James, a young man trying to figure out who he is in his small, backwater town in Nevada. When Maria and her girlfriend split, she decides to take a trek across America, ultimately landing in a Wal-Mart in Star City, where she eyes James and immediately understands it is her role to guide and nurture him.

Stylistically, this book is short, punchy and incredibly eye opening. I LOVED reading the authors afterword, where we learned more about her motivation for writing Nevada, and the duality she attempted to construct with Maria & James. This book shed light on so many moments in a trans womans life - relationships, hormones, identity, society, patriarchal structures and alienation within the trans community, the importance of role models, and so much more. The existence of a book like this is so important - it uplifts, it guides, it educates. I think this is an incredibly powerful piece of literature we should all read.
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The first impact was the grammatical styling of Imogen Binnie. It confounded me at first to be reading a third-person point of view with a first person voice. I have never read this style before and it took a little bit of adjusting. 

I don’t think I have ever read a book where I spent so much time in someone’s thoughts - I don’t think I sit with my own thoughts this much. (chuckle) Listening to Maria and being privy to her thoughts made me wonder just how off I am in my thinking. Do I sit in a never-ending rollercoaster of emotion; though I have never been in a gender dysphoria and had to battle through the war of trying to live that particular truth. Just as coming out can be a daily battle, Maria shows that just living her truth is a daily battle. I don’t think anyone, but another transgender person can truly understand this war.

Binnie then takes us on a road trip where Maria meets someone at the very beginning of their journey where they are still deciding whether they even want to get on the road or not. Maria cannot imagine not getting on that road and it makes the conversations between James and Maria interesting. It is not just whether to move ahead, but how Maria’s journey has affected every other area of her life. 

I will warn you that there is no “happy-ending” in Nevada. There are no answers. The conversation just ends. Some relationships are like that - especially on road trips. You meet people and some have an impact and others are like just passing the salt. In this case, Maria and James gives you glimpses into two lives in our rainbow world and I, for one, am better for having read about them.

I received a free copy of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily
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Wonderfully messy, beautifully realized, an absolute queer delight of a story. 

Some highlights: road trip! Two well-developed POV characters! Bicycles! Utterly relatable retail jobs! Gay drama! (Also, the afterword section was excellent, and really added to my appreciation of the book; don't skip it.)

I initially felt sort of bad when I was, before writing this review, thinking that this book would absolutely appeal to anyone who liked Torrey Peters' "Detransition, Baby," until I read that Torey Peters actually has said that this book influenced her own writing – which I can absolutely see. It's not just the trans woman protagonist that the books have in common – their biggest point of commonality, in my opinion, was actually the wonderfully complex, flawed characters. who are almost painfully real and human in their decision-making and character arcs. That said: if you liked Detransition, Baby, you should *absolutely* read this. 

I did feel like the two short chapters which adopted the POV of each major protagonists' girlfriend were – interesting, but not totally necessary, and because they were so brief, felt a little jarring to me. Additionally, the pacing felt a little bit rushed and unbalanced; I don't necessarily think that's out of line with what this book *is*, but it wasn't quite what I expected going in, based on the summary.

All in all, though, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this one, and I would love to see more writing from Imogen Binnie in the future. My enormous thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC, in exchange for an honest review!
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