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10 thoughts on “Yabo

  1. L. Cherelle L. Cherelle says:

    This book ain’t for the faint of heart You must read with care and memory and it will satiate those who desire a literary feast Alexis De Veaux has formed a beautiful tapestry of fiction and poetry and poetry is laced throughout the short stories And although the stories are individually titled each story is part of series a lyrical series that unfolds without regard to seuence The nonlinear narratives undergird one of the themes time In Yabo time has no boundaries Present past and future are the same and this “principle” is mirrored in the expressions of West African folklore spirituality symbols and history throughout the bookThough groups of characters exist in different centuries and forms and sexualities they all relate in complex surprising and satisfying ways Parts of the stories are steeped in the rural South; other parts transpire in the bustling North Regardless of location the stories are woven in expected ways through realms of life and death and unseen worlds through spirit and flesh and pain and desire I especially liked “Between Here and Nowhere” The story is less than two pages but knowing and reverent and told through the mouths of an eagle and leopardI was particularly drawn to the character Jules a resilient person with strengths and talents as deep as Jules’ weaknesses Jules is intersex and from day one Ruby and Ramses Jules’ parents were careful not to “correct” Jules’ genitalia or categorize Jules as male or female Instead Jules lingers in the spaces of both neither— bn— an acronym coined by Jules’ parents; a pronoun in which Jules identifies I kept waiting for the moment that De Veaux would have to use a conventional pronoun to aid in the storytelling of Jules characterization and experiences But it never happened Instead the reader must read along the lines of Jules’ identity literally and figuratively which encourages readers to set aside the limitations of labels— which reminded me to avoid dichotomous pronouns hereMy only issue with Yabo is also a bit of a reader pet peeve I prefer traditional styling with paragraphs and dialogue Indentations and uotation marks are my friends When they’re missing the reading takes effort like I’m fighting the text by second guessing myself and re reading a line to determine whether it was exposition or dialogue to begin withI highly recommended Yabo because it is the type of book you not only read but also see and experience— and the kind of book that incites writer’s envyReview originally posted at the Black Lesbian Literary Collective

  2. Megan Megan says:

    Read for my new book club In gorgeous prose de Veaux maps intersex and nonbinary gender ontoalongside the simultaneity of time Bothneither simultaneously Structural similarities to Nalo Hopskinson's The Salt Roads with three main overlapping settings and storylines weaving together characters in Jamaica North Carolina New York; many slippages here all kinds of fluidity gender time genre subjectivity hella ueerness Also engages poignantly and critically with the history of slavery in New York Huge huge world in 160 pages

  3. Chaneli Chaneli says:

    This book reminded me in some ways of Ntozake Shange's Sassafrass Cypress Indigo but in certain themes but also very different It also felt of a short story collection I also really enjoyed one of the biggest themes in the book which is that the past present and future are all converging and living in the now and how our past meets with our present selves and what that means I also really enjoyed the aspect of what it means to raise a child without gender roles and defining them with an assigned gender and what that means when the majority of society is going to be in opposition with youSo many wonderful things going on and being brought to discussion in this book that i'm excited to think about

  4. Deidra (ShadeTreeReads) Deidra (ShadeTreeReads) says:

    I don't want to give this book an official Goodreads rating because I think maybe it just wasn't for me It was sort of poetic in flow structure and poetry is really not my thing in that I have a hard time getting what the authors wants me to BUT if I were to give it a rating it would be 2 stars I was extremely confused shortly after the very spicy beginning It was too choppy to fully connect with the various characters who end up going by different names during different timeseras The timeline and dimensions I think jumped around very abruptly and very often I stopped reading at page 124 of 168 in the middle of a chapter because there was yet another character being introduced or maybe being presenting under a different name And I was tired It the book was trying to do too much in such a few amount of pages The writing and punctuation were an unusual style from what I am used to reading which added to my confusion Like there were no uotation marks and few commas I wasn't sure if that was style choice or an editing failure In the end I'm glad I picked it up but I don't care to know how it ends because I'll probably still be confused

  5. Breena Breena says:

    YABO by Alexis DeVeaux is a densely peopled novella that is unpredictable and surprising Time is mutable as is gender classification The work of Alexis DeVeaux is full of literary serendipity and the writing here is filled with fresh turns that direct the reader’s eye to new views new perspectives In YABO Alexis DeVeaux is really rocking the form Writing newbies take a lesson Check out the 2014 Festival of Women Writers' spotlight on Alexis DeVeaux and her work at

  6. Cass Cass says:

    I wish I could take all the stars I've given other books on Goodreads and give them to this one

  7. ECH ECH says:

    So I love what this was trying to do thematically I'm not sure if it succeeded at it though with me There was a lot of sex which isn't itself a problem but I had difficulty keeping the characters straight because they were all having so much sex Interesting countercultural sex in some cases but it was a problem for me Part of me thinks that since the timeline blending was deliberate that the effect might have been intentional but it came across less linked and liminal than fuzzy and homogenizedthe other trigger for me is view spoiler there's a plotline about a professor sleeping with the student she is advising And yes I know she's of age depiction not endorsement etc I'm a woman in love with a woman older than me myself I'm no prude But teacher student is a hard hard no for me and there was no way to avoid it in this book because there is no way to tell what the book is about without reading it hide spoiler

  8. Ash Otterloo Ash Otterloo says:

    Wow Yabo crawled into my skin and stuck to all my ribs; I'm fairly certain I'll never shake it This is a book that alters you The narrative wove in and out of many stories and time periods stripping my mind down and demanding attention until a huge story was told in the span of two hours Potent Will read again and highly recommend

  9. erika erika says:

    poetic astonishing; densely packed I immediately felt like I needed a re read upon finishing this book sweet ueer terrifying shifting time space characters in ways that would be infuriating from a different writer but it works perfectly here

  10. Shelley Ettinger Shelley Ettinger says:


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Yabo Fiction African American Studies LGBT Studies Women's Studies See YABO like a Mingus composition Pentecostal blues inflected full of wit and that deep literacy of the black diaspora The present the past the uncertain future collapse upon themselves in this narrative of places Our dead move with us behind us above us confronting us in Manhattan; Asheville NC; Buffalo NY; Jamaica; the hold of a funky slave ship; crossing and bending lines between genders sexualities longing and geographies Time is a river endlessly coursing shallow in many places deep for long miles and finally deadly as the hurricane that engulfs and destroys the slave vessel 'Henrietta Marie' YABO calls our ghosts back and holds us accountable for memory Cheryl Clarke