An “absorbing . . . beautifully written” debut about the trials of growing up unique in a restrictive environment (The New York Times Book Review).
In 1968, in a remote part of Canada, a child is born—a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people share the secret: the baby’s parents and a trusted neighbor. Together, the adults make the difficult choice of deciding the gender for themselves, and raise the child as a boy named Wayne.
But as Wayne grows up, his shadow-self, a girl he thinks of as “Annabel,” is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life. As Wayne approaches adulthood, and its emotional and physical demands, the woman inside him begins to cry out. The changes that follow are momentous not just for him, but for the three adults who have guarded his secret.
Shortlisted for the Orange Prize in Fiction, this “enchanting” literary gem explores the courage to unveil one’s true self in a culture that shuns contradiction (The New Yorker).