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Join us for an evening with this dynamic author duo, as we celebrate Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's acclaimed new book The Freezer Door, and the paperback release of Madeline ffitch's Stay and Fight!
When you turn the music off, and suddenly you feel an unbearable sadness, that means turn the music back on, right? When you still feel the sadness, even with the music, that means there's something wrong with this music. Sometimes I feel like sex without context isn't sex at all. And sometimes I feel like sex without context is what sex should always be.
--The Freezer Door
The Freezer Door records the ebb and flow of desire in daily life. Crossing through loneliness in search of communal pleasure in Seattle, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore exposes the failure and persistence of queer dreams, the hypocritical allure of gay male sexual culture, and the stranglehold of the suburban imagination over city life.
Ferocious and tender, The Freezer Door offers a complex meditation on the trauma and possibility of searching for connection in a world that relentlessly enforces bland norms of gender, sexual, and social conformity while claiming to celebrate diversity.
Helen arrives in Appalachian Ohio full of love and her boyfriend's ideas for living off the land. Too soon, with winter coming, he calls it quits. Helped by Rudy--her government-questioning, wisdom-spouting, seasonal-affective-disordered boss--and a neighbor couple, Helen makes it to spring. Those neighbors, Karen and Lily, are awaiting the arrival of their first child, a boy, which means their time at the Women's Land Trust must end.
So Helen invites the new family to throw in with her--they'll split the work and the food, build a house, and make a life that sustains them, if barely, for years. Then young Perley decides he wants to go to school. And Rudy sets up a fruit-tree nursery on the pipeline easement edging their land. The outside world is brought clamoring into their makeshift family.
Set in a region known for its independent spirit, Stay and Fight shakes up what it means to be a family, to live well, to make peace with nature and make deals with the system. It is a protest novel that challenges our notions of effective action. It is a family novel that refuses to limit the term. And it is a marvel of storytelling that both breaks with tradition and celebrates it. Best of all, it is full of flawed, cantankerous, flesh-and-blood characters who remind us that conflict isn't the end of love, but the real beginning.
Absorbingly spun, perfectly voiced, and disruptively political, Madeline ffitch's Stay and Fight - now in paperback - forces us to reimagine an Appalachia--and an America--we think we know. And it takes us, laughing and fighting, into a new understanding of what it means to love and to be free.
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the author of three novels and a memoir and the editor of five nonfiction anthologies. Her memoir, The End of San Francisco, won a Lambda Literary Award in 2014, and her previous book, Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform, was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Her novel Sketchtasy, was one of NPR's Best Books of 2018. She lives in Seattle.
Madeline ffitch cofounded the punk theater company Missoula Oblongata and is part of the direct-action collective Appalachia Resist! Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Guernica, Granta, VICE, and Electric Literature, among other publications. She is the author of the story collection Valparaiso, Round the Horn.
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