Reviewed by Amanda Eyre Ward, Fri., Sept. 29, 2000
by Chris Bohjalian
Harmony Books, 342 pp., $24
Well, I certainly know a lot more about sexual reassignment surgery than I did last week. Oh my. In Trans-Sister Radio, Chris Bohjalian (feted by Oprah for his novel Midwives) explores love, gender, and vaginas. For reasons I cannot fathom, Bohjalian has decided to structure his novel as if it were an episode of the National Public Radio staple "All Things Considered." The first page reads like a script, and chapters are then given to the vivid and well-imagined people who are "interviewed": Carly Banks, a college freshman, her father Will, her mother Allison Banks, and the man Allison falls in love with, Dana Stevens. Except Dana believes he is a woman trapped in a man's body. Bohjalian is a gifted storyteller, but his prose never thrills. This is a compelling novel, one which demands all of your attention for a short while and then fades completely from mind.