by Morgan Thomas
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Pub Date 25 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 01 Mar 2022
"These breathlessly imaginative stories are all the more remarkable for the elegant, organic ways in which the author unhooks language from its entrenched assumptions about men and women." —The New York Times Book Review
"Wonderful stories. Impressive range. Delightfully, compellingly queer."—Roxane Gay
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Nylon, Autostraddle, Electric Literature, Lambda Literary, The Millions, and Lit Hub.
Morgan Thomas's Manywhere features lush and uncompromising stories about characters crossing geographical borders and gender binaries.
The nine stories in Morgan Thomas’s shimmering debut collection witness Southern queer and genderqueer characters determined to find themselves reflected in the annals of history, whatever the cost. As Thomas’s subjects trace deceit and violence through Southern tall tales and their own pasts, their journeys reveal the porous boundaries of body, land, and history, and the sometimes ruthless awakenings of self-discovery.
A trans woman finds her independence with the purchase of a pregnancy bump; a young Virginian flees their relationship, choosing instead to immerse themself in the life of an intersex person from Colonial-era Jamestown. A writer tries to evade the murky and violent legacy of an ancestor who supposedly disappeared into a midwifery bag, and in the uncanny title story, a young trans person brings home a replacement daughter for their elderly father.
Winding between reinvention and remembrance, transition and transcendence, these origin stories resound across centuries. With warm, meticulous emotional intelligence, Morgan Thomas uncovers how the stories we borrow to understand ourselves in turn shape the people we become. Ushering in a new form of queer mythmaking, Manywhere introduces a storyteller of uncommon range and talent.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 45 members
What a collection! The stories are sharply written, and often surprising, if somewhat unusual. The very first story has to be the strongest of the bunch. Many are concerned with queerness / transness, and many seem quietly attuned to this time. Not that the collection is experimental, but there was something very modern or contemporary to its leanings, and form.
Thank you FSG for the e-galley. I look forward to what Thomas does next.
Thanks to Netgalley and FSG for the ebook. This is an electrifying story collection of nine stories that explore queer and genderqueer experiences through history and right now. One trans woman wants to be at Ellis Island at the hundredth anniversary that an earlier trans woman, who was a great inspiration, passed through. Another trans woman orders a pregnancy bump and tells everyone at work that they are pregnant, which alarms her grandmother. A trans man tries to find a replacement granddaughter to live with her grandfather. Exciting, inventive stories told with heart and a sly wit throughout.
The stories in this collection play with time, place, and gender in ways that were both confusing and effective in showing their fluidity. Morgan Thomas plays with these concepts in clever ways that left me questioning what I had just read. I'm not sure that I picked up even half of what they put down, and I get the feeling that there are others who will get so much more out of these stories than I did.
an amazing collection of short stories connected by "manywheres" or rather the possibilities of life. i loved every story but the ones that incorporated history, like "the daring life of phillippa cook" were my absolute favorites. all of the stories were so nuanced and complex for so few pages! i loved how nearly every protagonist was gay, trans, or both. there was a lot of interesting reflection on gender roles/expectations, love, family, history, sense of self, etc
Thank you so much to FSG Books and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC; it is greatly appreciated.
This book consists of nine short stories that all really stand on their own. We see characters from every walk and stage of life. I really appreciate the individuality of these stories; each main character is someone who doesn't fit the steroype of a "normal" life.
This collection starts off very strong, with the first three stories being my favorite. Do not expect these stories to have solid conclusions though. These stories are mainly a moment in the main character's life, so we don't see the end result of what they are going through. We are only seeing part of their journey, reflection, pain, etc. I find this effective, as we can insert our own journeys and stories into these characters, and determine our own endings.
I'd recommend this to anyone who's future has ever felt unclear to them, or like they did not know themselves. This book is heavy on reflection, and will definitely have you looking into yourself, and what makes you who you are.
This will be enjoyed by those seeking a read focused on a variety LGBTQ characters. These stories are varied and unique, and a couple may be even memorable.
Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!!
(4.5 stars, rounded up because in words of Kristen Arnett: "The book is very queer" and very well-written.") This story collection has quite a range, in terms of style and subject, but revolve around history, bodies, and discovery. As with any collection, some stories are stronger than others, but they're all solid.
this was an amazing collection of short stories. each one of them left me with such an unique feeling that i cant describe, they were fantastic. "the daring life of phillippa cook", "surrogate" and "manywhere" where my favourites but to be honest, all of them where amazing in their own way, the author did an amazing job and i hope i can read more about then in the future !!
“There were no demands at all upon my person or my time. No restrictions. Nothing to wait for, nothing to dread, nothing to force me to justify my life or to change it.” (from “Alta’s Place”)
This collection contains some of the best stories I’ve ever read, but also some misses (for me).
Thomas was able to create stories that feel huge in scope, ideas that could easily be turned into novels, without compromising on emotional potency, or precision. They managed to develop captivating characters and intricate settings in stories that are relatively short. This, combined with the writing style, makes them stories that require your full attention—and a little bit of patience. Oftentimes I wouldn’t really understand what was going on until I was a few pages into the story, especially for the first few stories or the ones that had more of a “historic” aspect to them.
My favorites were “Bump”, “Alta’s Place”, “Surrogate” and “Manywhere”.
MANYWHERE is an inventive and unique collection of nine short stories focusing primarily in the Southern US and featuring primarily genderqueer and queer experiences. A group is relocated due to flooding and FEMA offers them land in an area where a leper colony resides. Midwives in Alabama are pushed out of the profession by the emphasis on doctors. Someone learns about the history of an individual who lived as both a woman and a man in colonial times. The stories that I think about the most are MANYWHERE where a trans man's father comes to live with him. They used to hike together, and his father walks miles around the house day after day as his cognitive abilities wane, and the narrator tries to find him a surrogate daughter. Also BUMP, where a trans woman has a strong desire to be pregnant and purchases a strap on pregnancy belly and coworkers not surprisingly assume she is pregnant.
This collection is a diverse set of stories featuring characters not often highlighted and I truly enjoyed them, and would recommend others read these stories and expand their literary range.
Thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux via NetGalley for the advance reader copy in exchange for honest review.
Really solid debut collection. Lots of interesting thematic explorations of queerness/gender identity, history, and pregnancy/motherhood. The first two stories were the weakest (and quite confusing) of the collection for me, but I'm glad I continued on as the stories got better and better. Favorites were: "The Daring Life of Philippa Cook The Rogue" (fascinating story about trans identity in colonial-era America), "Bump," and "Manywhere," but as I said I enjoyed most of the stories after the first two. Thanks to MCD (FSG) for providing me with a free early copy! Manywhere comes out January 25!
Thank you to FSG and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy!
Available Jan 25th
Fantastical and thoroughly queer, Morgan Thomas's debut collection Manywhere is an incredible feat. I absolutely loved all the twists and turns in each story and how Thomas challenges our perception of history. Each story is wholly unexpected yet perfect like a bite of a tart peach pie on a warm summer day, leaving a lingering sense of contentment. There is an underlying sense of celebration, of bringing to life those shadows we'd half see on the walls and giving them the same love and affection as anyone else. Just a thoroughly enjoyable book!
clever and sort of haunting short stories, about characters reckoning with identity and history and the very messy nature of it all. i found some of these stories lovely — Bump is a standout for me, beginning to end. a lovely collection.
Manywhere is a collection of short stories, through which queerness (and strangeness) runs like a thread, binding the disparate stories together. Place and setting – especially the American south – is also a persistent, unifying factor. The stories are domestic, intimate, and surreal in equal measure; beautifully and delightfully odd. I can't pretend I felt like I fully understood all of them on the first read-through, but I'd be delighted to revisit them again, to see if I can't expand that understanding.
Highly recommended for fans of queer fiction, magical realism, short fiction, and anyone looking to feel slightly unsettled after they finish reading a book. I will be following this author's future work with a great deal of interest.
Personal favorites: "Taylor Johnson's Lightning Man," "Bump," "Alta's Place," and "Surrogate."
Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher for an e-ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review!
Read this collection of nine stories about LGBTQ people one at a time. We all spend our lives looking for something- wealth, love, faith, ourselves- and Thomas has written about nine people doing exactly that. It's both thoughtful and thought provoking, Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Short story fans should grab this one up.
Stunning short story collection reflecting a wide array of queer experiences. I absolutely loved the vivid prose and the way each story pulled you in immediately, regardless of how little context you had to the beginning scene. It was brilliant and poetic and I absolutely adored it!
This is a book of surrealist short stories, and they are all unusual and very Gender. I poked through a couple other reviews, and many misgender the protagonists — from my perspective, as a trans person frequently around other trans people, both online and off, I think I correctly gendered the protagonists. But it’s not explicitly explained to the reader What Exactly is going on, which is something I really like but might not be your cup of tea. This book gets five stars from me — the first short story, The Lightning Man, is my favorite. I think I’d like to actually buy this to keep on my shelf.
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.
This was a really fun and engaging collection of stories, which, although they covered different topics (ranging a full gamut from pregnancy to death, relationships and break-ups, and general modern malaise), still had a cohesive feel to them.
These stories are wonderfully, boldly and unapologetically queer, and at times feel like they're even queering the idea of what a short story can be. The writing feels confident, but also able to shape-shift in style between stories without feeling jarring.
I think these are well worth checking out, and taking time with, resisting the urge to gulp them down, and instead taking them perhaps one a day to savour them.
I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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)
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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