Amy Bloom   Normal  
Amy Bloom  
Read an Interview with Amy Bloom

Read an Excerpt from Normal


Amy Bloom, author of two critically acclaimed short story collections (Come to Me and Even A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You) and one novel (Love Invents Us), has never once let us down when it comes to her masterful storytelling of the lives of her fascinating characters. With her first non-fiction book, Normal: Transsexual CEOs, Crossdressing Cops, and Hermaphrodites with Attitude, she brings her trademark insight, humor and unblinking eye to the very real world of female-to-male transsexuals, heterosexual crossdressers, and the intersexed-showing us that "normal" is truly subjective.

Normal sprung from an essay about female-to-male transsexuals, "The Body Lies", that was published in The New Yorker eight years ago when the then editor Tina Brown asked Bloom to write about something she had always wondered about but never understood. "The Body Lies" became the first of three long chapters within the book, as Bloom moved beyond transsexuals to the surprising lives heterosexual crossdressers, and finally to the rocky medical road of hermaphrodites.

In Normal we meet Louis Sullivan, a female-to-male transsexual who not only knew he was male despite his female anatomy, but also realized that he was a gay male. We meet Kris who put an ad in the personals looking for a man who was in touch with his feminine side but instead found love and marriage with a crossdressing heterosexual. We also meet Cheryl Chase, the most vociferous activist when it comes to the rights of the intersexed-she is the "person who has almost single-handedly changed both the dialogue on the subject and the surgical practice itself."

Bloom clearly states that her book was never meant to be viewed as an academic study or a text book, but it's obvious that she did her homework (she worked on the book on and off for eight years) as beyond the personal stories she also gives a strong overview on the current "thinking" of each of the three topics, but also provides a window into the medical aspects that are involved as well.

Bold Type had the pleasure of being invited to Bloom's home to discuss her new book, her thoughts on her career, to find out what she's currently working on, and to ask her whether she still has the ability to be shocked.

Jenny Lee

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  Photo credit: Jenny Lee

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