Trans-Sister Radio

Trans-Sister Radio

Audiobook(Cassette - Abridged, 3 cassettes, 5 hrs. 15 min.)

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Four people in a small Vermont village are about to have their lives inexorably intertwined by the uncertainties of love . . . and the apparent absolutes of gender.        

Schoolteacher Allison Banks, the long-divorced mother of a teenager on the cusp of college, has at last fallen in love. The object of her desire? Dana Stevens, a professor at the nearby university and her instructor for a summer film and literature course. Her daughter, Carly, watches with pleasure her mother's newfound happiness, but her ex-husband, Will, the president of Vermont Public Radio, is jealous. Still secretly in love with his ex-wife, he finds himself increasingly unsettled by the prospect of Allison's attachment to another man.

Yet Dana is unlike anyone Allison has ever been with: attentive, gentle, kind — and an exceptionally ardent lover. Moreover, it's clear that Dana cares just as deeply for Allison. The only stumbling block? Dana has known always that in actuality he is a woman — genitalia, plumbing, and perceptions be damned — and he will soon be having a sex change operation.

At first Allison runs, but overwhelmed by the depth of her passions, she returns. But can the pair's love transcend both the biologic imperatives that are their bodies, as well as their ingrained notions of sexual preference? Moreover, can their love survive the outrage of the small community in which they live?

All four characters — Allison, Dana, Carly, and Will — narrate this compelling story, spinning a tale that will keep you turning the pages with the eagerness we usually reserve for thrillers, while nodding in wonderat such a deeply moving and profoundly honest portrayal of longing, love, and desire.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375415692
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/09/2000
Edition description: Abridged, 3 cassettes, 5 hrs. 15 min.
Product dimensions: 4.54(w) x 7.15(h) x 1.25(d)

About the Author

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.

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.


Lincoln, Vermont

Date of Birth:

August 12, 1961

Place of Birth:

White Plains, New York


Amherst College

Read an Excerpt

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 arethings 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 Audio CD edition.

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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Trans-Sister Radio 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Marie-Blondie18 More than 1 year ago
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.
Mannadonn More than 1 year ago
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 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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a disappointment! The characters were very strong and went through so much. It was a disgrace that the ending was so weak.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
...caroline on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I won't summarize "Trans-Sister" radio as summaries and plot descriptions are readily and plentifully available.I will think that it the weakest novel, of Bohjalian's work, by far. There are several reasons, but first and foremost I believe that the characters in the book, while involved in a rather sensational life-happening, are flat and ill-developed. In some cases, Carly for instance, a character is just a collection of stereotypes and cliches used as a plot vehicle more than anything else.While none of the characters were especially well-developed, the females characters were downright frustrating. While I've always enjoyed and respected Bohjalian's previous novels, in this case I felt like I was reading a man trying way too hard to write about women: how they dress, act, think, and feel. The descriptions of clothing and some descriptions of physical intimacy were nearly laughable.While the plot was interesting (it kept me from putting the book aside) it was also predictable.In summary: not a fully thought-out or fleshed out novel, both from the standpoint of character POV and character development as well as plot resolution.
janiereader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A bizarre yet interesting read. I am a fan of Chris Bohjalian, so I had to read it. Answered some questions as well as brought up some on the subject. It was unfortunately a predictable read and the ending was no surprise, and seemed a cop out. I read the first chapter to my husband on a long car ride. Needless to say, he didn't want me to read anymore. I wonder if it was a girl main character if he would have wanted me to continue?
coolmama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, not as great as I was lead to believe.Not much character development.She meets man, looses man as he becomes a woman, she's not sure if she wants to make love to a woman, and then the ex-boyfriend/current girlfriend ends up with her ex-husband. A little to pat for my liking.
Alvaro77 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gay. Straight. Trans-gender. Transsexual. This book is a rather simplistic look at the complicated issue of sexual reassignment surgery. It begins like any other love story between a man and a woman except this man, Dana, is in the process of becoming a woman. The characters are a little under developed and the book is very predictable but I learned a thing or two about transsexuals. I am a fan of National Public Radio so I loved the NPR transcripts that ran throughout the story.
LynnAlex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the book that made me fall in love with Chris Bohjalian! He is one of my favorite authors.
marynkids42 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second book I have read of Bohjalian's. I was drawn to his books because he sets his books in Vermont and I know where the places are that he uses. This particular book was about a somewhat touchy subject and I can relate to the reactions of friends and neighbors because they are typical of the area.
jeniwren on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting story about a transsexual who before gender reassignment falls in love with a woman. After the surgery from male to female the relationship continues with much prejudice and the obvious problems.This is told in multiple narrative with each of the characters giving the different perspectives . It is a novel which explores the nature of love and relationships albiet here with a twist and asks the question can love truly overcome all obstacles?I have previously read 'Midwives' from this author and once again he tackles a controversial theme that is both illuminating and educational.
KC9333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting take on transgender issues but saw the ending coming a mile away....not as good as Bohjalian's other books.
LibrarysCat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book much more than Midwives, which I barely finished. I really enjoyed hearing the story from multiple perspectives. Perhaps a change in writing would have been good as we changed to new people. Otherwise, I could not put this down until I finished the story.
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sleepyhummel More than 1 year ago
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!
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Could not put it down. Read it in two days!! Did not expect the ending. I highly recommend it!
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