OkPsyche written by Anya Johanna DeNiro

OkPsyche by Anya Johanna DeNiro is about a nameless trans woman on her way to find a place in her life.


Although the phantastic components are small and style structure might be challenging (second person singular, which I usually avoid reading), I am totally the target group of this (short, 160 pages) novel. 


I read the review in the last Locus Magazine, so I was well-prepared for what I would read. 


Surprisingly, the trans woman experiences so much transphobia, that was difficult for me to bear. I must have been extremely naive. I would have guessed that there still is something like "micro transphobia", like people that stare at you a bit too long. But not that open and very direct transphobia that the narrator experiences in some scenes.


It's difficult to find a premise in the book. What might it be about? To find a place in this world? To connect the past (where the narrator has purported to be a man) with the present (in which she is in her early forties and lives as a woman)? Which includes finding new ways to deal with her son. Thinking about the end of the text, this might be it. 

But it might very well only be my own interpretation of the text.


However, there is much to admire in this book. First, style and use of words:


"Your human hair wig unfurls in the bathroom sink like a sea anemone"


"His apron's splattered with so much paint that it looks like a rainbow bled out in his arms from a gunshot wound."


"Fragments of IKEA furniture are in halb-formations all around you, like dinosaur skeletons in the middle of assemblage at the natural history museum."


The phantastical aspects are scarce, but very nice.


"Kierney hasn't got to the bathroom, because she doesn't exist"


It's nice how the narrator checks whether or not the people surrounding her do really exist and how she gathers hints for their existence. More difficult seems to be that she sometimes hears people saying something and if she reacts, it becomes clear that the words have been only in her head. 


Loneliness is a big issue for her. The lack of love. That's very sad. Being a Mom myself, I was especially touched by the gap between her son and her. Not being able to spend time with your kid, to be estranged from your own kid, that must be so damn difficult. 


What I appreciate most are those little details that make the narrator real for me. Like this:


"... a miniature bottle of vodka. The size of those bottles always fills you with glee, as if there are clandestine distilleries operated by mice."


Maybe I should mention that the title has something to do with greek mythology.

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