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“In this world (of which I am the author), I am not the only denizen, citizen, harlequin, or doyenne. I have invented myself, surely, who hasn’t, but I, unlike (perhaps) you, have also invented others—assorted godlettes, hopefuls, poseurs, and freaks. Still, we’re closer than you might think, reader. In fact, if you take this opportunity to examine yourself in the mirror, is that not me, there, in the shadow of your nostril, or setting free those pesky strands of hair around your part? Don’t be afraid! I know my place. Let me entertain you! I’m only here to make you smile, never to think, never to think.”

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A host of characters emerge from a madwoman’s dreams, populating a world as strange and magnificent as a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. A boy with one wing seeks the secret to flight. A girl with a mirror for a face, adored by all, longs to simply eat. A pregnant girl reflects on the effects of metamorphosis. And what about those who don’t identify as either boy or girl? The stories of boysgirls are modern myths: tales that exist within our present time but also outside it, in a place as eternal as Atlantis or Middle Earth.

Resource for teachers & students


“Smart and witty, tantalizingly interesting characters: the boy with one wing, the inventor of invented things, the brief sparkling cameo of the cyclops…a tour de force.”

— Robert Coover, author of Origin of the Brunists, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award

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