Skip to product information
1 of 1

The Lavender Rhino



Regular price $30.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $30.00 USD
Sale Sold out

Author: Justin Torres

ISBN: 9780374293574

Tags: Gay, POC and Queer, Literary Fiction, New Releases

Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction

A Best Book of the Year: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The Washington Post, Time, BookPage, The New York Public Library, Powell's

A Must-Read: The New York Times, Time, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, Boston Herald, Literary Hub, The Rumpus, The Bay Area Reporter, Datebook, Electric Literature, The Stacks, Them, Publishers Weekly

“Sweeping, ingenious . . . A kiss to build a dream on.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

From the bestselling author of We the Animals, Blackouts mines lost histories—personal and collective.

Out in the desert in a place called the Palace, a young man tends to a dying soul, someone he once knew briefly but who has haunted the edges of his life: Juan Gay. Playful raconteur, child lost and found and lost, guardian of the institutionalized, Juan has a project to pass along, one built around a true artifact of a book—Sex Variants: A Study of Homosexual Patterns—and its devastating history. This book contains accounts collected in the early twentieth century from queer subjects by a queer researcher, Jan Gay, whose groundbreaking work was then co-opted by a committee, her name buried. The voices of these subjects have been filtered, muted, but it is possible to hear them from within and beyond the text, which, in Juan’s tattered volumes, has been redacted with black marker on nearly every page. As Juan waits for his end, he and the narrator recount for each other moments of joy and oblivion; they resurrect loves, lives, mothers, fathers, minor heroes. In telling their own stories and the story of the book, they resist the ravages of memory and time. The past is with us, beside us, ahead of us; what are we to create from its gaps and erasures?

A book about storytelling—its legacies, dangers, delights, and potential for change—and a bold exploration of form, art, and love, Justin Torres’s Blackouts uses fiction to see through the inventions of history and narrative. A marvel of creative imagination, it draws on testimony, photographs, illustrations, and a range of influences as it insists that we look long and steadily at what we have inherited and what we have made—a world full of ghostly shadows and flashing moments of truth. A reclamation of ransacked history, a celebration of defiance, and a transformative encounter, Blackouts mines the stories that have been kept from us and brings them into the light.

“I haven't been able to stop thinking about [Blackouts] . . . it is like no book I have ever read.”
—Ari Shapiro, NPR’s All Things Considered

“Torres swings for the bleachers in Blackouts, a transfixing collage of gorgeous prose and manipulated illustrations, with themes of cultural erasure and the effervescence of lust and love . . . It’s easily 2023’s sexiest novel . . . A tour de force. Run, don't walk, to buy it.”
—Hamilton Cain, Star Tribune

“A transfixing and emotional examination of history . . . [Blackouts] illuminates the ways in which the lives and experiences of marginalized people have long been omitted from written records.”
—Megan McCluskey, Time

“The supreme pleasure of [Blackouts] is its slow obliteration of any firm idea of reality—a perfect metaphor for the delirious disorientation that comes with learning queer history as an adult . . . Torres haunts this book full of ghosts like a ghost himself, and with this novel, he has passed the haunting on, creating the next link in a queer chain from Jan to Juan to nene to you.”
—Hugh Ryan, The New York Times Book Review

“Shimmering, fable-like . . . An ingenious assemblage of research, vignette, image and conceit . . . Playful and mysterious, there’s much in it to admire.”
—Charles Arrowsmith, The Washington Post

“Artfully blur[s] history, autobiography and fiction . . . Beautiful.”
—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“An experimental journey into the annals of queer history that is equal parts intergenerational love letter and homoerotic fever dream.”
—Jeremy Childs, Los Angeles Times

“A dreamy novel that unfurls among mixed media and Socratic dialogues, moving freely between fact and fiction as it proposes and complicates questions about how history is made.”
—Joshua Barone, The New York Times

“Dazzling . . . Torres has created his own queer history story through the eyes of the narrator learning from Juan through art, poetry, and more. The result is prismatic and beautiful.”
—Sarah Neilson, Shondaland

“Torres has the ferocious heart of a poet . . . [Blackouts] is exquisite.”
—John Manuel Arias, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Intimate, playful . . . a rich, poetic reclamation of cultural inheritance.”
The Guardian

View full details