I had to shoot a video alone in front of my cell phone talking about my latest book and I said, “The genre is magical-queer.” Then I realised it made a lot of sense. On the one hand, the book is made up of queer characters, who for various reasons are outside the norm. It could be because of their gender, their orientation, their country of origin, their social class, for simply not conforming to what society tells them their life has to be. In that nonconformity and departure from the norm is the character of queer. And then it is magical because there are fantastic elements, although not one hundred per cent.
For example, in the chapter I'll do with you whatever I want, there is the cosmic death of a pharaoh. A queen who dresses as a man when her husband dies and experiences a physical death and goes through the mud that is her memories and rises to the cosmos. Evidently, there is a magical element. The other stories don't have such an obvious fantasy element but they do have a context that I consider magical. Even though there is sadness, there is a glittering aesthetic, glamorous, celebratory environment and I find that magical. It transcends the factual. Even though they are stories of dissidence that may contain drama, there are also very beautiful things.
The character Keiko illustrates this perfectly. Her story begins when she wakes up covered in cat pee. She is a Japanese trans woman living in 1970s New York and is an alcoholic. By the standards of the straight world, she leads a complicated life. According to the norm, she would have a sinister existence but I find it beautiful. In one scene, she gets on a stage with blue curtains with a rose in her hands to perform a dance that transcends her physical body, that goes beyond this earthly life. She rises and at that moment she thinks of the sun of Okinawa, where she grew up. That is something resilient and empowering to me. It's like saying, “At this moment I shine, at this moment I am me.”