One of The Atlantic's Must-Read Books of '22
"It’s tempting to slot into the most evident groove of interpretation with ‘Dead Collections’: that vampirism is a metaphor for being trans…But Sol’s story is much messier, much funnier, and a lot more interesting than a one-to-one allegory...[a] thoughtful, acebric, bracingly hopeful book."
New York Times Book Review
"Fellman thoughtfully examines gender, sexuality, and belonging through an unforgettable main character, who explores what it means to truly embody himself. This bold and self-aware story delivers the goods."
--Publishers Weekly *Starred Review*
"The instant spark of attraction between Sol and Elsie and the romance that unfolds between them is very sweet, very intimate and very, very queer. In general Sol is a great character, and his voice is the core of the novel. Like Fellman’s previous work, this is a memoir written from a unique point of view, and every part of Sol’s identity is important ... Dead Collections is a...literary achievement, a book so firmly anchored in space and time, and so rooted in queer and trans intimacy that it achieves [a] hyperreal quality."
San Francisco Chronicle
"A moving and provocative novel, that caresses the decay nibbling at the hard edges of postmodern officescapes, exposing a sexy, neurotic, cinematic vampire love story bubbling up from the ruins." –Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox
"An imaginative work by a Lambda Award–winning author told through narrative, screenplay, texts, and emails. Lovers of fanfic, city'set fiction, and the supernatural will relish this book’s dreamlike walk on the wild side of twilight."
"I wish this book was a song so I could crank up the volume and play it on repeat. Dead Collections is so raucously funny, sexy and engrossing from page one that you may not immediately realize that Fellman has quietly revolutionized about four different genres in one single, masterfully-crafted book... a singular, gripping, tremendously fun story." –Calvin Kasulke, author of Several People are Typing
"This book kept delighting and astonishing me with little insights and conversations that felt like I was eavesdropping on people I desperately wanted to be friends with. Utterly refreshing and thrilling. Dead Collections is a marvel that left me feeling as if miracles might lurk behind every doorway and inside every old box of papers." –Charlie Jane Anders, author of Victories Greater Than Death
"Author Fellman has sensitively constructed the complex internal landscape of a multilayered protagonist whose self-consciousness, quirks, and anxieties are palpable; vampire or not, Sol is a uniquely relatable character whose inner life jumps off the page. Though Sol and Elsie’s relationship sometimes veers into the saccharine, their shared vulnerability as each grapples with their sexual and gender identities is genuinely moving. Most of all, the book’s musings about bodies—their trials, tribulations, and pleasures; the ways they sometimes serve and sometimes oppose their owners—provides a deep, rich undercurrent ... Unique and emotionally deep."
"There's something of the feeling that comes from hanging out at your friend's work after-hours – a little fuzzy, a little surreal, a sense of getting away with something without a commensurate sense of what, if any, rules one is breaking. A remarkably efficient book about untidyness." –Daniel M. Lavery, author of Something That May Shock and Discredit You
"Upsetting in the most satisfying way possible and beautifully clever. Dead Collections is full of wonderful details both phantasmagoric and all too real. Filled to the brim with things that grab onto your brain and won't let go." –Mattie Lubchansky, artist
An archivist who happens to be a vampire receives a collection belonging to the late creator of a cult TV show, triggering a series of dramatic life shifts.
Even before he became a vampire—spurred by a freak case of tetanus, after which his body must be sustained by blood transfusions and religiously shielded from the sun—Sol Katz had always lived somewhat apart from others. A trans man who, for years pre-transition, inhabited a body he “[couldn’t] bear to have touched,” Sol has always worked “best with imaginary or fictitious people,” first as a fan fiction writer and then a steadfastly patient archivist at the Historical Society of Northern California. Sol’s reclusive life, though, is disrupted when the magnetic Elsie brings in a collection belonging to Tracy Britton, her dead wife, the creator of the science-fiction TV show Feet of Clay. Coincidentally, this is the fandom in which Sol used to write. Almost instantly, Sol’s world is shaken as he forms an intimate bond with Elsie, who is stubbornly vulnerable and unequivocally herself; and as he goes through Tracy’s papers, he relives the journey he’s taken to understand his own gender identity. As he and Elsie grow closer, he must contend with the nearly frightening experience of desire for the first time in years and the risks inherent in a sexual relationship with a human—to whom vampire bites can be dangerous. As Sol’s life threatens to disintegrate around him—Tracy’s collection inexplicably decays before his eyes; he experiences near brushes with the sunlight after sleeping over at Elsie’s—he's led to reevaluate his life and weighs the benefits of safely tucking himself away in the archives against inhabiting the flesh-and-blood human world. Author Fellman has sensitively constructed the complex internal landscape of a multilayered protagonist whose self-consciousness, quirks, and anxieties are palpable; vampire or not, Sol is a uniquely relatable character whose inner life jumps off the page. Though Sol and Elsie’s relationship sometimes veers into the saccharine, their shared vulnerability as each grapples with their sexual and gender identities is genuinely moving. Most of all, the book’s musings about bodies—their trials, tribulations, and pleasures; the ways they sometimes serve and sometimes oppose their owners—provides a deep, rich undercurrent.
Unique and emotionally deep.