Reverse Cowgirl (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents)
McKenzie Wark invents a new genre for another gender: not a memoir but an auto-ethnography of the opacity of the self.
Another genre for another gender.
What if you were trans and didn't know it? What if there were some hole in your life and you didn't even know it was there? What if you went through life not knowing why you only felt at home in your body at peak moments of drugs and sex? What if you expended your days avoiding an absence, a hole in being? Reverse Cowgirl is not exactly a memoir. The author doesn't, in the end, have any answers as to who she really is or was, although maybe she figures out what she could become.
Traveling from Sydney in the 1980s to New York today, Reverse Cowgirl is a comedy of errors, chronicling the author's failed attempts at being gay and at being straight across the shifting political and media landscapes of the late twentieth century. Finding that the established narratives of being transgender don't seem to apply to her, Wark borrows from the genres of autofiction, fictocriticism, and new narrative to create a writing practice that can discover the form of a life outside existing accounts of trans experience: an auto-ethnography of the opacity of the self.
About the Author
McKenzie Wark (she/her), awarded the 2019 Thoma Prize for writing in digital art, is the author of A Hacker Manifesto Gamer Theory, and The Beach Beneath the Street. Wark's correspondence with Kathy Acker was published by Semiotext(e) as I'm Very Into You.
Praise for Reverse Cowgirl (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents)
Wark refuses to call this book a coming-of-age tale, even if it ends up marking her coming-into-identity as a trans woman. If the text may initially feel dystopic in spite of its moments of ecstasy that transcend and descend, it ends in a space of utopic self-invention.—BOMB—