To close out this year’s June Pride Month I bring you a selection of some outstanding Own Voices literature that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good book. What are your Own Voices LGBTQIA+ recs?
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
A Booker Prize winning contemporary masterpiece, the novel follows Nick Guest in 1980’s London. It explores sexuality in the private and public realms, as well as art, politics and class. The novel, in references and style, is a satisfying nod to Henry James as well, in case that entices you further.
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
The novel is an adventure that follows Orlando over 300 years. We start with his life as a page in Elizabethan England, and end with her as a mother in the 1920s. Lauded by The Guardian as ‘a trans triumph’, the novel also explores the fluidity and nonconformity of gender and sexuality.
How to be Both by Ali Smith
Another prize-winning novel, this, like Orlando, is also about gender and sexual fluidity, and is split between 1460s Italy and contemporary Cambridge, UK.
The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams
In this fun novel about language, Mallory struggles to linguistically define her sexuality and identity as a gay woman who is madly in love with Pip, her live-in girlfriend of five years. Read the full review here.
By the Nightfall by Michael Cunningham
A Manhattan art dealer finds himself attracted to his wife’s younger brother when he comes to stay with them to pursue a career in the arts. Not a masterpiece, but an interesting look at notions of beauty in art and life and its potential impact on a person’s sexuality.
The Hours and Mrs Dalloway
I have recently written about these here so I will just reiterate how wonderful they are. The relationships in these books, whether fleeting or more profound, are a thing of beauty.