Jenn Shapland, "My Autobiography of Carson Mccullers: A Memoir" (Tin House Books, 2020)


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Jenn Shapland's My Autobiography of Carson McCullers (Tin House Books, 2020) is a fascinating cross-genre book that combines elements of traditional biography with Shapland's own personal narrative of researching McCullers and discovering the many ways her life and McCullers' mirror each other. McCullers was a lesbian, but many of her biographers have shied away from this aspect of her life, referring to her partners as "friends" or "obsessions." Shapland's book is a bold work of historical reclamation, insisting we view McCullers as a queer writer and drawing attention to previously-obscured elements of queerness in her work. It is also a portrait of a vibrant queer community existing beneath the placid surface of mid-century America: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Gypsy Rose Lee, and W.H. Auden all make memorable appearances in its pages. My Autobiography of Carson McCullers is a must-read for fans of McCullers, but it will also be of interest to fans of cross-genre writers like Maggie Nelson, Eileen Myles, and Hilton Als.

Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts.

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