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Literature / Nevada

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"...that kid is trans and he doesn't even know it yet"

Note: This is not the same as the book of the same name by Clint McCollough

Nevada by Imogen Binnie is a novel about the life of Maria Griffiths, a trans woman who, after running into issues with her personal and professional life, decides to take a road trip to Nevada. It is known for being perhaps the first novel about a trans character that concerns itself not with the character's transition but on her life after transition.

Maria Griffiths is a trans woman living in New York city, she has a dead end job and a girlfriend she doesn't love anymore. After she finds out said girlfriend has cheated on her, she steals her car buys a lot of heroin, and runs away on a road trip to Nevada. There she meets James H. a young man that she's convinced is a trans woman who she must help come to terms with his gender.

The author has said that the intention behind the novel that didn't fall into the usual trap of serving as an introduction of transgender issues for cis people. The result is a novel that may be incomprehensible to larger audiences, but that is deeply beloved by the audience for whom it was written, other trans people. Indeed the book was reviewed negatively by critics upon release and yet it has a very large following amongst trans people, who often credit it for helping them come to terms with their gender.

For the actual U.S. state of Nevada, see this page.

This novel contains the following tropes:

  • Addled Addict: Mariah and James H. both suffer from addictions to various drugs.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Piranha is a nickname used only by Maria.
  • The Alcoholic: Maria drinks a 40 ouncer of malt liquor and a fifth of whisky before biking down the Williamsburg Bridge at 4 in the morning.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: James H. is convinced he's a man. Maria's not so sure.
  • Big Apple Sauce: The novel takes place in New York city and there are several mentions of landmarks and places that are only familiar to those who've lived there.
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Character Development: Maria starts the road trip in an effort to undergo this.
  • Crossdresser: James H. tries this out and finds himself unfulfilled.
  • Dressed in Layers: Maria's signature outfit consists of two skirts skirt, a sweater, a jacket, and a scarf.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Maria takes it as a sign of coolness whenever she gets dinged on her bike while biking recklessly.
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: The very first scene in the novel is Maria engaging in this with her girlfriend.
  • Foregone Conclusion: After showing up to work consistently late for months and just starting to take breaks whenever she wants, Maria gets fired from her job.
  • Functional Addict: Piranha.
  • The Insomniac: Maria is one throughout her time in New York.
  • Lonely Bachelor Pad: James H.'s apartment.
  • The Movie Buff: James H. qualifies as one. Maria's shocked that he has classic movies when she visits his apartment. This causes some conflict with his girlfriend Nicole, as he doesn't like her taste of movies but doesn't want to rock the boat.
  • No Ending
  • Only Shop in Town: Star City, Nevada's Walmart.
  • The Quincy Punk: Maria lives a "punk rock" lifestyle. In the chapter in Steph's point of view, it's revealed that this is really just in her head. Mariah's never done anything traditionally associated with the punk rock subculture.
  • Road Trip Plot: Maria's Road Trip to Nevada is the central part of the latter half of the novel.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: The novel opens with a very explicit sex scene, the characters consume drugs from weed to heroin throughout the novel, and several punk rock bands are listened to and discussed.
  • Small Town Boredom: James H. suffers from this. Maria suffered from this in her home town.
  • Sleep Deprivation: Maria routinely does not sleep, making her more irritable and prone to accidents.
  • Soul-Sucking Retail Job: Maria works at a big book store where employees don't last long and those who do have given up any hope in life.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Done in the second part of the novel between James H. and Maria. Steph gets a chapter through her point of view as well.
  • The Stoner: James H.
  • Transgender Fetishization: James H. enjoys reading pornography that heavily fetishizes the transgender experience.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: Maria and Piranha have gone to support groups at the queer center in the past.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The novel is narrated from Maria's point of view, whose connection to reality is tenuous at best.