Audiobook review of Blackouts by Justin Torres


Through a dialogue between an unnamed young gay man and an older, dying man named Juan Gay, National Book Award-winner Blackouts (Macmillan Audio, 7 hours) explores the suppression of queer history. Interspersed throughout the book are poems constructed by blacking out words from pages of Sex Variants: A Study in Homosexual Patterns, an actual book by queer sex researcher Jan Gay. Its production, and the eventual removal of Gay’s name from the book, form the basis for much of the story.

The audio version reinforces the book’s unique structure by featuring different voice actors for the two main characters: Torian Brackett as the young man and Ozzie Rodriguez as Juan Gay. Brackett and Rodriguez are convincing narrators, and the end of their story is particularly moving. Author Justin Torres himself reads the erasure poems in a quiet and almost whispery voice, affectingly reminding the listener of the act of redaction that is at the heart of Blackouts.

Read our starred review of the print edition of Blackouts.

Read original article here.

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