Monday, June 20, 2022


Olivia Tapiero, author/Kit Schluter, translator
Completed 6/18/2022, Reviewed 6/18/2022
2 stars

First of all, the definition of the title is the bodily movement of a motile organism in response to light, either toward or away from the light’s source.  It’s not taking pictures of taxi cabs.   This was a very strange, surreal, existential novella by a Canadian written in French.  It was translated last year and nominated for a 2022 Lambda Literary Award.  The category has changed from LGBTQ  Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror to LGBTQ Speculative Fiction.  And this book is definitely speculative fiction.  It’s not sci fi, fantasy, or horror.  In fact, I barely figured out what this book was about.

The best way to describe the “plot” is to just give you the online synopsis that most sites use.  “In a city mysteriously overflowing with meat, a museum is bombed, a classical piano player hooked on snuff films throws himself off a building, a charismatic but misled political organizer has disappeared, and a young immigrant navigates a crumbling continent.”  Two of the characters, Theo and Zev were in love at one point.  Theo is the classical pianist.  The other two characters, Zev and Narr, are the political organizer and the immigrant.  But I really can’t tell you what else happened besides a sandstorm.  The plot was barely linear.  The story is mostly surreal images.

The prose is the only thing that’s outstanding in this book.  Tapiero uses beautiful language.  But as for the rest of it, the world-building was as incomprehensible as the plot.  There’s no character development.  The characters are just there, when you can decipher who’s narrating.  Yeah, I didn’t get this book.

I can’t say much else about it because I can’t describe it.  I give this book two stars out of five because the words were pretty.  If you like weird, surreal writing and imagery, this is the book for you.  It wasn’t the book for me.  I think the Lambda Literary Awards selection committee for this category were just a little too erudite this year, choosing a book that that’s all style with no substance.  I’m glad it didn’t win.

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