Publisher: Metonymy Press
Released: May 13, 2016
Small Beauty tells the story of Mei, a mixed race trans woman managing the death of her cousin, the ways she contorts to navigate racism and transphobia, and her desire for community as she takes an opportunity to leave the city and revisit a town from her family's past, where she discovers queer family history while parsing through her own anger and trauma.
Cycling through time, points of view, and rural and city life, the novel introduces us to Mei’s community: Annette and Connie, other Asian trans women from the drop-ins; Sandy, Mei’s older cousin and constant (if aggressive) support; Diane, an older lesbian with a pick-up and secret links to Mei’s blood family; and Nelson, a presence lost before found, whose story is told in pictures sewn into a suitcase. Interspersed with one culminating night-time lake scene, the book carries us through these stories and towards their completion as the frustrating, necessary web that keeps Mei attached to the world.
“A quiet, gorgeous meditation on grief, race, and community, Wilson-Yang’s writing more than delivers on the title’s promise.” —Lambda Literary
“Wilson-Yang deftly weaves and unweaves the threads of narrative tropes that have come to dominate the telling of the stories of trans women, lesbians, migrants, and Chinese North Americans.” —Autostraddle
“Some of the most gorgeous writing trans lit has been blessed with.” —The Winnipeg Review
“Evocative of classic Canadiana, Wilson-Yang’s book offers a fresh revisioning of the settler/colonial gothic, with one foot in a magic realist lyric and the other in regionalist gritlit.” —Vela Magazine
“Small Beauty’s quiet power is well on its way to much-deserved acclaim.” —Montreal Review of Books
jiaqing wilson-yang is a mixed race trans woman living in Toronto. She likes to write poems and stories and music. Her writing has appeared in Bound to Struggle: Where Kink and Radical Politics Meet (ed. Simon Strikeback), Letters Lived: Radical Reflections, Revolutionary Paths (ed. Sheila Sampath), and the women of colour issue of Room magazine. She has recorded several acoustic albums and this one time was a drummer in a pop punk band. The Lambda Literary Award-winning book Small Beauty is her first novel.