Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

Coming from Rescue Press on November 1, 2017.

It’s 1993, Iowa City is a university town thrumming with politics and parties, and Paul Polydoris is at the center of it, tending bar at the only gay club in town. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, and is a flâneur with a rich dating life. He also has a secret: he’s a shapeshif er. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women’s Studies major to trade, Paul seeks his fortune at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, in Boystown, in Provincetown, and, finally, in San Francisco.

Andrea Lawlor offers a speculative history of early 90s identity politics and the heyday of ACT UP and Queer Nation. Mixing mythology and the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl gives us a hero/ine wending his way through a world gutted by loss, pulsing with music, and breaking open with a stunning array of intimacies and connections.

Early Praise:

“I am such a fan. Andrea Lawlor’s prose is restless, muscular and playful and uncannily able to zero in on the cultural details that make the world Paul is travelling through shimmer and pucker with truth. Stealth too. Lawlor is either a good “liver” or a good liar. They know. In Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl Lawlor takes the ancient trope of “the changeling” and makes it be me, you. Paul’s such a funny book that studies how studied we are especially when we go out. Who do we seek and who or what is seeking? It’s a tight satisfying masterpiece which I am very glad to hand you if you happen to love sex, clothes, literature which now includes the apparitional blessing of a new elastic genre (which Paul initiates) that seamlessly makes both what’s out there and in here less lonely, less fixed and less fake. This book updates the present. In Andrea Lawlor’s fiction the dream walks, and I watch. Paul’s got flickering feet like Mercury.” —Eileen Myles

“I love this book, in all its ecstasy, wit, and hilarity. I laughed out loud in recognition and appreciation of Lawlor’s spot-on portrait of an era, scene, and soundtrack, the novel’s particular sluice of pleasures, fluids, and feelings. The liberatory rush of Lawlor’s writing is as rare as it is contagious, not to mention HOT. Paul is on fire, and an antihero for the ages.” —Maggie Nelson

“Fast-paced and cheeky, full of intellectual riffs, of observations so sharp they feel like gossip. Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is a touchingly sweet-hearted and deeply cool book. Andrea Lawlor has written a magic story, showing us the real magic of our world in the process. If you like your humor supersmart and your theory full of camp and irony and heart, you won’t be able to put this book down.” —Michelle Tea

If you are a reviewer interested in receiving an ARC, please contact Jeremy Wang-Iverson: jeremy at