An Apartment on Uranus: Chronicles on the Crossing

Semiotext(e): MIT. Feb. 2020. 264p. ISBN 9781635901139. pap. $16.95. LIT
Preciado, author of the seminal Countersexual Manifesto and early explorer of gender and sexual politics and theory (e.g., the sexual ramifications of architecture), includes here columns written from 2013 to 2018, relating his transition from Beatriz to Paul and much more. The frame of reference to Uranus in the title is multivaried, deriving from the 19th-century term, uranism, or third sex, and Preciado’s vision of living beyond contemporary conceptions of race and gender—“I am not a man. I am not a woman. I am not heterosexual. I am not homosexual. I am not bisexual. I am a dissident of the gender-sex binary system.” Essay topics range from the trans-crip movement to the fate of the bison, with pieces arranged chronologically and running one to three pages in length. Many are riffs on their subjects and digestible in small portions. What sets these entries apart from other writings in the queer and trans theory tradition is the clarity of prose and thought.
VERDICT Preciado engages complex ideas from a number of ancient and modern-day philosophers and theorists, which might challenge the uninitiated, but the dreamlike quality of the work is sure to resonate with readers of the great French writers Jean Genet and Albert Camus. Highly recommended.
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