Jo Livingstone

  • It’s Complicated

    TORREY PETERS HAS BEEN self-publishing and giving away her stories online for pay-what-you-like prices since the mid-2010s. In the short works The Masker, Glamour Boutique, and Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones—a sci-fi contagion story about hormones—Peters zeroes in on moments when her trans protagonist behaves or thinks in ways that communal consensus has agreed is “wrong.” Peters simplifies nothing, explains nothing to the outsider, which is why she is treasured by readers who are also protective of her and her work. For as long as such stories have stayed in the underground, where people

  • Bleak House

    There are a handful of novels in the English literary canon that directly concern domestic abuse. Most of them are light on direct testimony from victims, instead sublimating the violence of the marriage plot into the heroine’s surroundings. In classics like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, or Rebecca, the reader will notice something wrong with the house long before they see the flaws in the lover.

    It makes perfect sense to dramatize the marital home in a novel about intimate torture, because that is where the wife is trapped. Then as now, a spouse who wants to control

  • Fighting Words

    The cover of Sarah Schulman's new book shows a pretty sunset. Its title hovers in white letters over pink and blue clouds like a benign choir of aircraft. Schulman clearly intends to parachute her book into the debate over how people should respond to and resolve conflict. She is the author of ten novels, many plays (produced and unproduced), and five previous works of nonfiction, including influential, often combative books like The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination (2012), Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences (2009), and Israel/Palestine and the