Brian Blanchfield

  • Two Mississippi

    The tragedy of the formative opening episode in Kiese Laymon’s memoir, Heavy, is an American one, never more identifiably so. I’m writing this on the first day of October 2018, and last week millions of us watched the hours of retraumatizing and indignant testimony concerning an episode nearly identical to Heavy’s opening scenario. A fifteen-year-old girl, wearing her one-piece bathing suit under her clothes, is tricked into a bedroom with boys who are seventeen and bigger than her. There is laughter, among other sounds. They close the door. She cannot leave. Across from the closed door is a

  • Trans and Transient

    A postulate: Queer writers do twentieth-century picaresque uniquely well. The picaro figure was, after all, a rogue, originally: slippery, necessarily on the move and on the make, situationally criminal, effectively fugitive. More or less the situation of lots of LGBT people reading the signs and crafting a life outside of compulsory (cis) heterosexuality in the US in, say, 1992, which is when twenty-first-century queer writer Andrea Lawlor sets their new novel, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl. Ideally, in picaresque fiction, the resourceful hero’s attributes, those suited to navigating