Trans-Sister Radio [NOOK Book]

Overview

With Trans-Sister Radio, Chris Bohjalian, author of the bestseller Midwives, again confronts his very human characters with issues larger than themselves, here tackling the explosive issue of gender.

When Allison Banks develops a crush on Dana Stevens, she knows that he will give her what she needs most: attention, gentleness, kindness, passion. Her daughter, Carly, enthusiastically witnesses the change in her mother. But then a few months ...
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Trans-Sister Radio

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Overview

With Trans-Sister Radio, Chris Bohjalian, author of the bestseller Midwives, again confronts his very human characters with issues larger than themselves, here tackling the explosive issue of gender.

When Allison Banks develops a crush on Dana Stevens, she knows that he will give her what she needs most: attention, gentleness, kindness, passion. Her daughter, Carly, enthusiastically witnesses the change in her mother. But then a few months into their relationship, Dana tells Allison his secret: he has always been certain that he is a woman born into the wrong skin, and soon he will have a sex-change operation. Allison, overwhelmed by the depth of her passion, and finds herself unable to leave Dana. By deciding to stay, she finds she must confront questions most people never even consider. Not only will her own life and Carly’ s be irrevocably changed, she will have to contend with the outrage of a small Vermont community and come to terms with her lover’s new body–hoping against hope that her love will transcend the physical.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Chris Bohjalian's The Light in the Ruins.
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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
In the convolutions of human frailties and the confounding enigma of love, [Bohjalian's] tale brings to bear issues that transcend the bounds of gender: image, loneliness, yearning, and, most of all, the human capacity for change. . .It bears his hallmark: ordinary people in heartbreaking circumstances behaving with grace and dignity. He accomplishes this in plaintive prose that speaks directly to the heart.
Carol Memmott
Trans-Sister Radio is a controversial, highly original novel about a lot more than gender issues and sexual orientation. It is about the precarious dance on the checkerboard of sex. It is about life choices, lifestyle, tolerance and intolerance, and, above all, a commitment to love. Some might consider the resolution an equivocation, but this book is impossible to put down.
USA Today
Nancy E. Young
Set your dial to Trans-Sister Radio for a thoughtful and provocative read, and when you want more after you finish, tune into Bohjalian's earlier books, which are as wel written.
BUST Magazine
Library Journal
A compelling and often disturbing novel, Trans-sister Radio challenges all of our assumptions about gender, relationships, and sexuality. A powerful secret literally transforms four lives: Allison Banks, a sixth grade teacher; Will, her ex-husband and president of a local Vermont Public Radio station; their teenage daughter Carly; and Dana Stevens, a college instructor who falls in love with Allison. The structure of the book is essential for understanding the (r)evolution of emotions that occur with the complex issues Bohjalian explores through private lives made very public. The four voices, performed by Kymberli Colbourne, alternate to reveal their own separate struggles and to create a metamorphosis that is central to the story. A demanding work that is often graphic, always gentle, and full of wisdom and surprising humor. Recommended for adult audiences. Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Inspired…. [a] highly original novel…. Impossible to put down.”–USA Today

Trans-Sister Radio…bears Bohjalian’s hallmark: ordinary people in heartbreaking circumstances behaving with grace and dignity…. Speaks directly to the heart.”–San Francisco Chronicle

“Bohjalian has…written an interesting [and] ultimately, a quite daring novel, and a worthy successor to Midwives. Like that novel, Trans-Sister Radio challenges readers’ most dearly held notions of biological reality.”–Philadelphia Inquirer

“An insightful look at love and sexuality…with great compassion and insight.”–Los Angeles Times

“A though-provoking tale with a rich, varied texture…. [An] addictive read.”–The Denver Post

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400032983
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/13/2002
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 80,750
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Chris Bohjalian
Chris Bohjalian is the author of eight novels, including Midwives, (a # 1 New York Times bestseller and an Oprah’s Book Club® selection), Trans-Sister Radio, and The Buffalo Soldier—as well as Idyll Banter, a collection of magazine essays and newspaper columns.

His work has been translated into seventeen languages, been published in twenty countries, and twice become acclaimed movies, (“Midwives” and “Past the Bleachers”).  In 2002 and he won the New England Book Award.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Biography

It was March 1986 when Chris Bohjalian made a decision that would have an incalculable impact on his writing. He and his wife had just hailed a taxi home to Brooklyn after a party in Manhattan's East Village when they suddenly found themselves on a wild and terrifying 45-minute ride. The crazed cabbie, speeding through red lights and ignoring stop signs, ultimately dropped the shaken couple off... in front of a crack house being stormed by the police. It was then that Bohjalian and his wife decided that the time had come to flee the city for pastoral Vermont. This incident and the couple's subsequent move to New England not only inspired a series of columns titled "Idyll Banter" (later compiled into a book of the same name), but a string of books that would cause Bohjalian to be hailed as one of the most humane, original, and beloved writers of his time.

While Bohjalian's Manhattan murder mystery A Killing in the Real World was a somewhat quiet debut, follow-up novels (many of which are set in his adopted state) have established him as a writer to watch. A stickler for research, he fills his plotlines with rich, historically accurate details. But he never loses sight of what really draws readers into a story: multi-dimensional characters they can relate to.

The selection of his 1997 novel Midwives for Oprah's Book Club established Bohjalian as a force to be reckoned with, igniting a string of critically acclaimed crowd pleasers. His literary thriller The Double Bind was a Barnes & Noble Recommends pick in 2007.

Good To Know

Bohjalian's fascination with the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald extends beyond the author's prominent influence on The Double Bind. In an interview with Loaded Shelf.com, Bohjalian estimated that he owns "at least 42 different editions of books by or about F. Scott Fitzgerald."

. Two of Chris Bojalian's novels have been adapted into critically acclaimed TV movies. An adaptation of Past the Bleachers with Richard Dean Anderson was made in 1995, and a version of Midwives starring Sissy Spacek and Peter Coyote debuted in 2001.

In our interview with Bohjalian, he shared some fascinating and fun facts about himself:

"I was the heaviest child, by far, in my second-grade class. My mother had to buy my pants for me at a store called the "Husky Boys Shop," and still she had to hem the cuffs up around my knees. I hope this experience, traumatizing as it was, made me at least marginally more sensitive to people around me."

"I have a friend with Down syndrome, a teenage boy who is capable of remembering the librettos from entire musicals the first or second time he hears them. The two of us belt them out together whenever we're driving anywhere in a car.

"I am a pretty avid bicyclist. The other day I was biking alone on a thin path in the woods near Franconia Notch, New Hampshire, and suddenly before me I saw three bears. At first I saw only two, and initially I thought they were cats. Then I thought they were dogs. Finally, just as I was approaching them and they started to scurry off the path and into the thick brush, I understood they were bears. Bear cubs, to be precise. Which is exactly when their mother, no more than five or six feet to my left, reared up on her hind legs, her very furry paws and very sharp claws raised above her head in a gesture that an optimist might consider a wave and guy on a bike might consider something a tad more threatening. Because she was standing on a slight incline, I was eye level with her stomach -- an eventual destination that seemed frighteningly plausible. I have never biked so fast in my life in the woods. I may never have biked so fast in my life on a paved road."

"I do have hobbies -- I garden and bike, for example -- but there's nothing in the world that gives me even a fraction of the pleasure that I derive from hanging around with my wife and daughter."

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    1. Hometown:
      Lincoln, Vermont
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 12, 1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      White Plains, New York
    1. Education:
      Amherst College
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Carly
I was eight when my parents separated, and nine when they actually divorced. That means that for a little more than a decade, I've watched my mom get ready for dates. Sometimes, until I started ninth grade, I'd even keep her company on Saturday afternoons, while she'd take these long, luxurious bubble baths. I'd put the lid down on the toilet and sit there, and we'd talk about school or boys or the guy she was dating.

I stopped joining her in the bathroom in ninth grade for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it had started to seem a little weird to me to be hanging out with her when I was fourteen and she was naked.

But she has always been pretty cool about bodies and sex, and for all I know, she wouldn't mind my joining her in the bathroom even now when I'm home from college. For better or worse--and usually for better--my mom has always been very comfortable with subjects that give most parents the shivers. A couple of days before my fifteenth birthday, she took me to the gynecologist to get me fitted for a diaphragm, and told me where in her bedroom she kept the spermicidally lubricated condoms. (Of course, I already knew: God, by then I even knew where she'd hidden a vibrator.)

I hadn't had sex yet, and my mom made it clear that she didn't want me to in the foreseeable future. But she had a pretty good memory of the hormonal chaos that hits a person in high school, and she wanted to do all that she could for my sake to ensure that she wouldn't become a grandmother any sooner than necessary.

When I think back on it, my parents' divorce was very civilized. At least it has always seemed that way to me, though it's clear there are things I don't know.

The way my mom tells it, I was in second or third grade when they realized they just didn't love each other anymore the way they had when they were first married. They'd worked together at the radio station then, and they'd shared everything. My mom insists they both came to the realization at about the same time that they should separate: My mom was thirty-two and my dad was thirty-three, and they figured they were still young enough to hook up with someone who, in the long years ahead, could keep their motors humming the way they were meant to.

Sometimes my dad hints that it wasn't quite so mutual. Most of the time he toes their party line, but every so often I'll get the impression that when he moved out, he was figuring they'd both change their minds and reconcile in a couple of weeks. I think he might have thought he was just being cool.

Once when he was visiting my mom, I overheard him telling her that he knew her heart had never been into the counseling they went through when I was eight.

Still, he was the one who got remarried.

Sometimes, when I was little, I'd help my mom pick out her jewelry or clothing for a date.

"Wear the pearls," I might suggest.

"It's a clambake," she'd remind me.

"Too formal?"

"And they might scare the oysters."

One time she especially indulged me. I was eleven years old and convinced there was no fashion statement more powerful than a kilt. And so she wore a red-and-green Christmas kilt to a backyard cookout, even though it was the middle of August and the air was just plain sticky. That night my baby-sitter spent most of the time standing in front of a fan, with her T-shirt rolled up like a halter.

If I were to count, I'd guess my mom probably had five serious boyfriends in the decade between my parents' divorce and the day she met Dana. Dana had been in pre-surgical therapy for two years by then and had probably endured close to fifty hours of electrolysis. He'd been on hormone therapy for a good four or five months.

Unlike a lot of pre-op M2Fs, he wasn't trying to pass as a woman yet, he hadn't begun his transition.

Of course, he didn't tell my mom any of this--not that he should have. When they met, he was simply the professor for a film course at the university that she was taking that summer as a lark, and she was one of his students.

What was he supposed to do, say to the class, "Hi, I'm Dana, and I've spent a good part of the last year with my upper lip deadened by Novacaine"?

Or, "Good evening, I'm your professor. I'm about to start developing breasts!"

Or, if he wanted, for some reason, to be completely candid, "You folks ever met a lesbian with a penis? Have now!"

He had no idea he was going to fall in love with my mom, even when they started to date, and she had no idea she was going to fall in love with him. It just happened.

From the Hardcover edition.

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First Chapter

I was eight when my parents separated, and nine when they actually divorced. That means that for a little more than a decade, I've watched my mom get ready for dates. Sometimes, until I started ninth grade, I'd even keep her company on Saturday afternoons, while she'd take these long, luxurious bubble baths. I'd put the lid down on the toilet and sit there, and we'd talk about school or boys or the guy she was dating.

I stopped joining her in the bathroom in ninth grade for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it had started to seem a little weird to me to be hanging out with her when I was fourteen and she was naked.

But she has always been pretty cool about bodies and sex, and for all I know, she wouldn't mind my joining her in the bathroom even now when I'm home from college. For better or worse--and usually for better--my mom has always been very comfortable with subjects that give most parents the shivers. A couple of days before my fifteenth birthday, she took me to the gynecologist to get me fitted for a diaphragm, and told me where in her bedroom she kept the spermicidally lubricated condoms. (Of course, I already knew: God, by then I even knew where she'd hidden a vibrator.)

I hadn't had sex yet, and my mom made it clear that she didn't want me to in the foreseeable future. But she had a pretty good memory of the hormonal chaos that hits a person in high school, and she wanted to do all that she could for my sake to ensure that she wouldn't become a grandmother any sooner than necessary.

When I think back on it, my parents' divorce was very civilized. At least it has always seemed that way to me, though it's clear there are things I don't know.

The way my mom tells it, I was in second or third grade when they realized they just didn't love each other anymore the way they had when they were first married. They'd worked together at the radio station then, and they'd shared everything. My mom insists they both came to the realization at about the same time that they should separate: My mom was thirty-two and my dad was thirty-three, and they figured they were still young enough to hook up with someone who, in the long years ahead, could keep their motors humming the way they were meant to.

Sometimes my dad hints that it wasn't quite so mutual. Most of the time he toes their party line, but every so often I'll get the impression that when he moved out, he was figuring they'd both change their minds and reconcile in a couple of weeks. I think he might have thought he was just being cool.

Once when he was visiting my mom, I overheard him telling her that he knew her heart had never been into the counseling they went through when I was eight.

Still, he was the one who got remarried.

Sometimes, when I was little, I'd help my mom pick out her jewelry or clothing for a date.

"Wear the pearls," I might suggest.

"It's a clambake," she'd remind me.

"Too formal?"

"And they might scare the oysters."

One time she especially indulged me. I was eleven years old and convinced there was no fashion statement more powerful than a kilt. And so she wore a red-and-green Christmas kilt to a backyard cookout, even though it was the middle of August and the air was just plain sticky. That night my baby-sitter spent most of the time standing in front of a fan, with her T-shirt rolled up like a halter.

If I were to count, I'd guess my mom probably had five serious boyfriends in the decade between my parents' divorce and the day she met Dana. Dana had been in pre-surgical therapy for two years by then and had probably endured close to fifty hours of electrolysis. He'd been on hormone therapy for a good four or five months.

Unlike a lot of pre-op M2Fs, he wasn't trying to pass as a woman yet, he hadn't begun his transition.

Of course, he didn't tell my mom any of this--not that he should have. When they met, he was simply the professor for a film course at the university that she was taking that summer as a lark, and she was one of his students.

What was he supposed to do, say to the class, "Hi, I'm Dana, and I've spent a good part of the last year with my upper lip deadened by Novacaine"?

Or, "Good evening, I'm your professor. I'm about to start developing breasts!"

Or, if he wanted, for some reason, to be completely candid, "You folks ever met a lesbian with a penis? Have now!"

He had no idea he was going to fall in love with my mom, even when they started to date, and she had no idea she was going to fall in love with him. It just happened.

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Reading Group Guide

The introduction, discussion questions, author biography, and suggested reading list that follow are designed to enhance your group's reading of Chris Bohjalian's Trans-Sister Radio, a uniquely powerful love story with more than a few unexpected twists.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 62 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting...

    I borrowed this book from a friend and she didn't really say anything about it.. it was little challenging for my age group, but very interesting and amazing! I definetly learned a lot from this book! I think that now I have a little more sympathy towards trans-sexuals. It was a great book that hit a different group of people that many other people don't appreciate as much.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Makes you question your beliefs

    I read this book for my local book group. The story is told from the perspective of four individuals; Dana, Allison, Carly, and Will. Interspersed throughout the story are transcripts from a radio talk show interview between Carly and other characters within the book.

    The book begins with Carly explaining the impact of her parent's (Allison and Will) divorce. Will remarried but was often accused of holding a torch for Allison. Allison was a grade school teacher and was taking courses at the local college; Dana was her professor. Dana, an attractive yet effeminate man, quickly caught Allison's attention and they quickly entered into a relationship.

    A few months into their relationship, Dana reveals to Allison that he was born into the wrong body and is contemplating gender reassignment surgery. Though overwhelmed by this shocking news, Allison's love for Dana has grown beyond her rational control and she vows to remain by his side throughout his journey to become who he truly wants to be. The rest of the book centers around the perceptions of others and the struggles and complications the couple must face due to societal beliefs and prejudices.

    This book was well-written, as is the power of this author to transform mere words into a work of art. However, the ending and "revelations" were predictable, which was highly disappointing to me knowing the abilities of the authors writing style. This book explores an extremely controversial topic in a manner that instills a sense of compassion in the reader for the characters within the book.

    This story also instigated much conversation between me and my friends. I could not stop thinking about these people and their story. This work of fiction reads as a memoir and poses certain important yet debatable questions. The biggest question of all throughout this account is: can love transcend gender? Before you form your final opinion and answer to this question.read this book. Make sure you have all sides of any story before settling on a position. Enjoy.this is a book that will make you think and question all your previously held beliefs and ideals.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2005

    Interesting, but....

    What a disappointment! The characters were very strong and went through so much. It was a disgrace that the ending was so weak.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2014

    highly recommended, good read plus educational

    I am a fan of Bohjalian. He tackles difficult subjects and makes them more understandable. I understand much more about the difference between transgender and transexual and how one's life can be totally miserable if who you are on the inside doesn't match the external gender you are born with

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    CHLOE NOTICE BOARD

    The chatroom will be a party tomorrow &#9786

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 22, 2013

    Great read!

    I really enjoyed this story. I just discovered this author and am reading some of his books. I really enjoyed this story as it was different and very interesting. I gave it four stars as it wasn't one of the best I have read but is certainly worth your time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Lilykit

    Mews afraid

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    To Alchemystar

    Were you Alchemypaw of WolfClan? If so, Meadowkit is looking for you. ^^

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    May i join as deputy

    Shinestream . A loyal brave caringstrict and friendly cat . Parents Wilowshine and Streamclaw . Siblings Willowclaw and Snowtust and Dustyface. History .. Snowkit the cutest kit from the day she was born . Pure white fluffy fur . Shinekit smartest . New what ten times ten was . Dustykit mean nasty . Meanest tom ever . Dustypaws mentor was Freeclaw a very nice caring tom . Snowpaws Reedpelt the cutest tom . Shinekits was Sparklestar . One day there was a screech in the forest . It was Snowpaw . Shinepaw rushed there . Snowkit was in the crevice in the cliffs . They could easily get her out . That was not the problem a stone was on her . They quickly got her back to camp . She had a broken spine . Snowpaw said Dustypaw pushed it down on her . He was exiled . Snowtuft did not live much longer . Then the clan sorrta colasped sfter that . She finally found this clan . Shinestream

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    Feltfur

    Thanks! By the way, do you allow powers? If so then i see more than most do. She looks up. A owl shall fly overhead in 5...4...3...2...1...0. Suddenly a small owl flys over head.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    Stonepelt

    No but i need places to advertise i am new at this although i have rped before

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    Alchemystar

    We already have a deputy i think. An i do allow piers. But not doomsday((extremly powerful")stuff

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2012

    Great book!

    This was my first "Bohjalian" book and I really enjoyed it. First the subject matter pushes the limits and I love that and it also was written in a manner where every main character gets to tell their viewpoint. That was very refreshing to me and I felt like I got to know the "story" a whole lot better that way. Check it out!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Wow!! Great story

    Could not put it down. Read it in two days!! Did not expect the ending. I highly recommend it!











    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 6, 2011

    Very Highly Recommended To All To read And Check Out

    I have Heard A lot Of Compliments in this book and belive all should read it for the best understanding Of what we all gor through.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Very Differnt

    Never read anything like this before - a story about a man and woman who fall in love, except the man is in the process of becoming a woman. There's a lot to think about, but not so much that it distracts from the story, which pulls you in and keeps you there.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book on an interesting topic!

    Chris Bohjalain write a beautiful account of the complexities we face when life throws us a curve. Not every person will identify with these characters- but they will understand how we all face life altering decisions of our own, and how these decisions affect not only us.
    Wondefully done!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2008

    WOW, a book that is full of interesting info!

    A friend read it and chose it for our book club, much to the puzzled looks of other members. However, this book was interesting, amazing, and I found myself caring about the characters. While the end is somewhat predictable, I had a difficult time putting it down. I even learned that there is a doc in CO that does this surgery...all in all, you will learn something!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2007

    Best book I've read all summer!

    Beautifully written and thought through. I have never read anything like it and I just thought it was great.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2006

    A well writen emotional book

    I found this book phenominally well writen and especially sensitive towards the subject of transsexuality, both from those who are transsexual and those who are their friends, family and lovers. To many the ending may have been anti-climactic but I don't see anyway else that it could have been writen. As in the case of most post-op transsexuals life simply moves on.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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