Books to Watch Out For
Origami Striptease is a completely queer trip into an anti-wonderland filled with ice hotels and Zamboni machines, characters named the Sludge and the Pharoah, and more than one kind of heart condition.
Munson is a kick-ass novelist to watch out for. She’s been writing hot erotica for years, with her stories included in every edition of Best Lesbian Erotica since 1998. She’s also the editor of the anthology Stricken: Voices from the Hidden Epidemic of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Origami Striptease was co-winner of the first Project QueerLit contest. I look forward to reading what comes out of Munson’s feverish pen next.
The other winner of the first Project: QueerLit contest is Peggy Munson's Origami Striptease. Munson creates a magical love story between a writer and a nomad named Jack, but the affair isn't surprising. The writer is a journalist of "tell-all porn" with a penchant for trannies and butches. The story takes an interesting turn when Jack gives in to his obsession for cold, leaving the writer sick and alone. The girl on boy (dressed as girl) action is steamy, and definitely creates new definitions of gender and equality. Munson is a poet at heart, and a master of the written word. At times her prose is a bit heavy handed, but the story is strong and powerful. You won't be put off by the iambic prose; in fact you won?t even notice because you?ll be so involved with the sexy story. Origami Striptease is a must-read of alternative gender bending lit. (Anthony King)
I'm not quite sure if I understood everything that goes on in Peggy Munson's debut novel Origami Striptease, but that's probably why I loved it so much. The novel has been compared to a William Burroughs-esque form of writing, where metaphor and plot weave together in a lyrical narrative. I want to attempt to explain the plot of this beautiful (yet kinda creepy) story for you, but it doesn't flow or unfold in any sort of structured way.
From what I can gather, this vividly poetic story is about a love that grows between a feisty female writer, and the awkwardly handsome tranny, Jack. Their love, like many beginnings of love that I'm sure we have all experienced, ignites from very hot and graphic sex, but is eventually dissipated by Jack's wandering eye.
What I most appreciated about this unusual love story is that it shows us how the boundaries of gender are just as sexy, if not sexier, than the endless possibilities of the imagination. Any preconceptions you might have had about bodies, sex, gender, and reality will completely shift when you read Munson's story. I wouldn't describe it as breathtaking, but some parts of the book definitely made me stop breathing. Once I started it, I couldn't resist lying around my apartment all day, becoming entranced by the subversive characters, and consuming every last bit of language that Munson laid out on the page. (Chelsey Clammer)
Munson's erotic lyric novel (written largely in iambic prose) is a seductive, often raunchy fantasy of the disarming effects of love and trouble. When Munson's unnamed narrator, an erotica columnist in exile, meets the enigmatic Jack, her world and the book's sense of narrative convention seem to split apart into both a strange and an intuitive territory. Lovers say things such as "You're marvelous. You've like a stolen painting," or "Your body is an ice hotel" (to which she replies, "I've never been to Greenland, but I knew that it was there"). The most provocative element of the novel, though, is its frank use of chronic illness (Munson has been outspoken about her struggle with both chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivities syndrome) as Munson's characters struggle to define themselves in a toxic world. (Julie Bloch)
"Peggy Munson is speaking out of the void. Her language is cutting-edge and ontic, her subject matter shatters convention. This poetry is wise beyond any years - it truly transcends mere time. It is free from a lot of the burden of contemporary poetry conventions, and exists like a small island in the fiery sun, alone, yet willing to be utterly beautiful, utterly strange, and utterly itself." - Noelle Kocot
"Peggy Munson's intriguing, kaleidoscopic poems transport the reader into a tough- and tender-hearted world of blood, illness, medical authoritarianism, and stubborn life force. Here, "illness is not metaphor," but a presence, an atmosphere, a window into experiences to which no mortal, ultimately, is immune. These poems shine a much-needed light on these sick times." - Gerry Gomez Pearlberg
"Melancholia. Witch hunt. Sinking spell. Mass panic. The diseases that chase us down. The scrupulous craft of them. A poetry that doesn't let go. "A textbook case." The Plath-like sharpness and blinding clarity. Peggy Munson's Pathogenesis is rich, powerful, and strange, possessed of a stylistic brilliance and extraordinary humanism: 'I would rather speak in tongue clicks and superlunary broomsticks than utter words of hate.'" - Gillian Conoley
“READER FRIENDLY in format and content. Numerous people with CFIDS I’ve spoken with, many of whom say they’re generally unable to read anything longer than a comic strip, have reported reading this book in an astonishingly short time. They’re so spellbound they’re drawn in page after page, looking in the mirror at their lives.”- The Update
“A COURAGEOUS COLLECTION OF CAPTIVATING STORIES. . . . Provides a bold rebuttal to the many myths, criticisms, and skepticism surrounding this disease. Each chapter stands alone but overall this is an articulate anthology of the very human thoughts, feelings, experiences, and philosophies of individuals whose lives have been affected by CFIDS. . . . SHOULD BE READ BY BOTH LAY PERSONS AND MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS.”- Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy
“The single best book I've read that honestly and fully describes the CFIDS experience.”- Joan S. Livingston, Board of Directors, Massachusetts CFIDS Association
"This is a book that leaves you changed after you’ve read it, it’s so powerful and compelling." - Jodi Bassett, A Hummingbird's Guide to ME
"ONE OF THE VERY BEST BOOKS ON THE TOPIC and a must-read for people with CFS, their friends and family, and the public. " - National Fibromyalgia Association
"A RAW LOOK at the personal stories of pain, isolation and, ultimately, heroism of the millions worldwide who suffer from this complex illness." - Vicki Carpman Walker, The CFIDS Association of America
Readings from Origami Striptease have played in San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, New York, and elsewhere, and I have made virtual appearances in such venues as the Diana Cage show on Sirius Radio, Pirate Cat Radio in San Francisco, Sins Invalid in San Francisco, Not Queer Enough in Milwaukee, and The Femme Show in the Boston area. Check for upcoming readings in my blog.
Susie Bright's blog: (discussing tranny porn star Buck Angel): "If we could cast Buck in one of Peggy Munson's stories, where the characters really come alive, and every surprise is multidimensional, I think we'd have another 'Boys Don't Cry' impact on our hands."
Scott Heim's blog: "Gleaming and fresh in my mailbox this week was the new novel by Peggy Munson, Origami Striptease. I'm reading the book right now, and it's really great -filled with odd, wandering, wonderfully nasty-minded characters, and written in an exciting prose style."