Glory Hole blog

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor

It’s 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, makes zines, and is a flâneur with a rich dating life. But Paul’s also got a secret: he’s a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women’s Studies major to trade, Paul transforms his body at will in a series of adventures that take him from Iowa City to Boystown to Provincetown and finally to San Francisco—a journey through the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure.

Andrea Lawlor’s debut novel offers a speculative history of early ’90s identity politics during the heyday of ACT UP and Queer Nation. Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is a riotous, razor-sharp bildungsroman whose hero/ine wends his way through a world gutted by loss, pulsing with music, and opening into an array of intimacy and connections.

"...groundbreaking, shape- and genre-shifting work from a daring writer; a fresh novel that elevates questions of sexual identity and intimacy." ― Kirkus 

"...a witty and raucous portrait of LGBT radicalism during the early ' exhilarating picaresque hero..." ―The Washington Blade

"...a hilarious, original, gender-fluid novel replete with 1990s cachet, sex, and queer identity...a new benchmark for gender-nonconforming literature that introduces the undeniable skill,talent, and originality of new voice in fiction" ― Foreword 

"...plays beautifully with contradiction and genre: it's a coming-of-age fairy tale without the easy moral, a mix of comedy and tenderness and backroom sexual exploits." ― Booklist

"An intelligent and dashing work, Paul Takes the Form is destined to become, in the time-honored tradition of The Price of Salt, Rubyfruit Jungle, and Valencia, the go-to coming of age novel for the latest generation of wanderlustful rabble-rousers." – Sarah Fonseca, Lambda Literary

Andrea Lawlor lives in Western Massachusetts and teaches writing at Mount Holyoke College. Lawlor is a fiction editor for Fence and the author of a chapbook, Position Papers (Factory Hollow Press, 2016).


Published by Rescue Press, 2017


5.5 x 1 x 7.6 inches (14 cm x 2.5 cm x 19.3 cm)

Regular price $18.00