Pantomime

milkboys Books & Magazines 4 Comments

In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more… Gene’s life resembles a debutante’s dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities – last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age.

Pantomime  by Laura Lam starts as the tale of two apparently unlinked young people: the young would-be trapeze artist Micah Grey, and the noblewoman who calls herself Gene who’s about to be married off, should her parents get their way.

These boy-girl dual storylines are increasingly common in YA so I assumed something along the lines of a love story, albeit an unusual one. But Laura Lam weaves her first surprise of many into the opening chapters, and we realise that Micah and Gene are the same person.

Micah is intersex, and this was exceptionally well demonstrated throughout the novel. The alternating stories got closer and closer to each other as the narrative continued. It also felt very natural to me: the fact that Micah is intersex didn’t stick out to me, and although it was obvious from things he said, it didn’t feel forced by the author.

Instead, Micah’s character simply unfolded: rather than seeming like Laura Lam just fancied writing about an intersex character, Pantomime had the rare yet wonderful concept of a protagonist that has been discovered instead of being created. As someone who is cisgender, it still felt extremely relatable, which can sometimes put people off reading queer books but needn’t do so.

Read on…

Comments 4

  1. There are only two sexes am aware of and they are male and female, as born. The later social names and naming alters not birth sex. Later physical altering has nothing to do with birth. NO ONE is born knowing male, female, boy, girl, nor any thing else.

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  2. A person is born male or female. Boy, girl, man, woman, masculine, feminine, other, are things a person learns / creates / figures out AFTER BIRTH. Physically altering the body changes not a whit the DNA a person has at birth. The entire inter-sex and trans-gendering and so on is AFTER BIRTH. — — People discover their sexual equipment after birth. People invent gender.

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