Books·Canadian

Little Fish

Short story writer Casey Plett makes her fiction debut with her novel Little Fish.

Casey Plett

It's the dead of winter in Winnipeg and Wendy Reimer, a 30-year-old trans woman, feels like her life is frozen in place. When her Oma passes away, Wendy receives an unexpected phone call from a distant family friend with a startling secret: Wendy's Opa (grandfather) — a devout Mennonite farmer — might have been transgender himself. At first she dismisses this revelation, but as Wendy's life grows increasingly volatile, she finds herself aching for the lost pieces of her Opa's truth. Can Wendy unravel the mystery of her grandfather's world and reckon with the culture that both shaped and rejected her? She's determined to try.

Alternately warm-hearted and dark-spirited, desperate and mirthful, Little Fish explores the winter of discontent in the life of one transgender woman as her past and future become irrevocably entwined. (From Arsenal Pulp Press)

Little Fish won the $60,000 Amazon Canada First Novel Award, the Lambda Literary Award for transgender fiction and the Firecracker Award for fiction.

Why Casey Plett wrote Little Fish

"Wendy is a person who hasn't been able to have role models. I think a very common experience for trans women is not having people around who have had your experience. Over the past decades, many trans women went stealth — which means you don't talk about or admit it to anybody, including other trans people. All that means is that Wendy has nobody to look to. When the possibility comes up that her grandfather might have been trans, she becomes obsessed with figuring this out. If she can find out how he navigated his troubles, maybe that would tell her something about herself.

We all have things we don't understand about ourselves- Casey Plett

"Queer Mennonites have existed for as long as there have been Mennonites. It's probably been an internal, quiet and unwritten experience. Part of me writing Little Fish came out of thinking that if past generations who died when I was a kid or earlier were transgender, I probably would have never known.

"Throughout Little Fish, Wendy passes as cisgender. So how you look to a person can mean all sorts of things that you have no idea about and, in some ways, can't really control. We all have things we don't understand about ourselves."

Read more in Casey Plett's interview with The Next Chapter.

Interviews with Casey Plett

Casey Plett on her debut novel "Little Fish," about a transgender woman trying to make her way in a world that's often cruel. 11:26

More about Little Fish

 

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