To have, to be, and to appear: that is the topic of twenty-four-year-old Vivian’s master’s thesis, an ambitious work that explores the role of gender in social, artistic, and intellectual pursuits. To gather her research, Vivian peppers her friends and classmates with a series of increasingly provocative questions guaranteed to spark the curiosity of anyone who has ever questioned why things are the way they are, particularly regarding the perception of gender between individuals and in society. Adventurous listeners are subsequently led through the same questions by a diverse quintet of characters: bisexual Korinna, a star tennis player and obsessive reader of Michel Foucault’s and Judith Butler’s theories of sexuality; Frauke, a lesbian doctoral student writing her dissertation about Christ’s foreskin; Frauke’s fiancée Angela, formerly Angelo, a Bible-reading Italian Catholic who considers himself a lesbian; and Hans, a self-described male feminist who believes that men suffer from “reproduction envy.” Groundbreaking author Thomas Meinecke brings his innovative writing style to this arresting novel, sampling words and texts the way a disc jockey samples music, spinning seemingly disparate tunes into a single, glowing melody of human consciousness.
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