How to Be Between by Bastian Fox Phelan, Paperback, 9781925818987 | Buy online at The Nile
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How to Be Between

Author: Bastian Fox Phelan  

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How to Be Between is a memoir about female facial hair, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and negotiating identity for those visibly between gender binaries.

Young women’s bodies are relentlessly scrutinised and judged, so for most, the appearance of facial hair is a traumatic experience — unnatural, unfeminine, unwanted. But what happens when a female-assigned person decides to embrace their facial hair? In How to Be Between, Bastian Fox Phelan explores how something as seemingly trivial as facial hair can act as a catalyst for a never-ending series of questions about the self. What happens when we accept our bodies as they are? What freedoms are gained by deciding to pursue an authentic sense of self, and what are the costs? As Bastian navigates adolescence and young adulthood, they meet many people who ask, ‘Who, or what, are you?’

Written with a tender sense of compassion and openness to experience, Phelan’s memoir charts a young activist and writer’s life as they find their voice through political action, publishing zines and playing music. An exploration of youthful anxiety, medical discourse and shifting identities, Bastian Fox Phelan’s memoir shines a light on what it means to find joy, resilience and radical self-acceptance in a body that refuses to fit within gender binaries.

'How to Be Between is a memoir that takes the reader on a tour of Australian counterculture at the beginning of the 21st century, through queer spaces, art festivals, DIY punk shows, protests, zine distros and the edges of academia...Phelan’s memoir is a celebration of these things and the people who make them, and a celebration of being between in general. It’s a smart and moving book that I wished wouldn’t end, for readers who enjoy emotional stories from the edges of Australia, such as Omar Sakr’s poetry collection The Lost Arabs, Ellen van Neerven’s Heat and Light or Alice Chipkin and Jessica Tavassoli’s Eyes Too Dry.' — David Little, Books+Publishing

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Critic Reviews

How to Be Between is a memoir that takes the reader on a tour of Australian counterculture at the beginning of the 21st century, through queer spaces, art festivals, DIY punk shows, protests, zine distros and the edges of academia. Those who have been in these spaces will take pleasure in revisiting them, but Bastian Fox Phelan's genuine and wholesome voice does not exclude those who haven't. As a guide, Phelan is both thoughtful and frenetic, lost and completely certain, and the compelling contradictions of their character shape what amounts to a study of the ways in which betweenness has worked through their life since childhood. From Phelan's early years in Wollongong to their travels across Europe in their 20s, the focus of that betweenness is how they come to terms with being non-binary, with having a body and a way of being in the world that eludes the definitions that people attempt to give them. How to Be Between is also about how our past stays with us and how we get lost in other people. But the bones of this story are the things people pass between each other: letters, music, art, zines, ideas, theories, stories themselves. Phelan's memoir is a celebration of these things and the people who make them, and a celebration of being between in general. It's a smart and moving book that I wished wouldn't end, for readers who enjoy emotional stories from the edges of Australia, such as Omar Sakr's poetry collection The Lost Arabs, Ellen van Neerven's Heat and Light or Alice Chipkin and Jessica Tavassoli's Eyes Too Dry. David Little is a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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More on this Book

Young women's bodies are relentlessly scrutinised and judged, so for most, the appearance of facial hair is a traumatic experience - unnatural, unfeminine, unwanted. But what happens when a female-assigned person decides to embrace their facial hair? In How to Be Between , Bastian Fox Phelan explores how something as seemingly trivial as facial hair can act as a catalyst for a never-ending series of questions about the self. What happens when we accept our bodies as they are? What freedoms are gained by deciding to pursue an authentic sense of self, and what are the costs? As Bastian navigates adolescence and young adulthood, they meet many people who ask, 'Who, or what, are you?' ' How to Be Between is a memoir that takes the reader on a tour of Australian counterculture at the beginning of the 21st century, through queer spaces, art festivals, DIY punk shows, protests, zine distros and the edges of academia...Phelan's memoir is a celebration of these things and the people who make them, and a celebration of being between in general. It's a smart and moving book that I wished wouldn't end, for readers who enjoy emotional stories from the edges of Australia, such as Omar Sakr's poetry collection The Lost Arabs , Ellen van Neerven's Heat and Light or Alice Chipkin and Jessica Tavassoli's Eyes Too Dry .' -- David Little, Books+Publishing

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Product Details

Publisher
Giramondo Publishing Co
Published
1st May 2022
Pages
320
ISBN
9781925818987

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Save
23%
RRP $32.95
$25.37
Or pay later with
Check delivery options