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Blackouts by Justin Torres review – a *****-gothic dreamworld

A marginalised history is salvaged from real‑life medical records in this strange and glorious novel If you locked Shirley Jackson and David Wojnarowicz in a room together, they might invent the kind of mouldering dreamworld that Justin Torres conjures in his new novel, Blackouts: a queer‑gothic version of the Hotel California. My review notes are full of these pop-cultural thought experiments: imagine Scheherazade plucking her stories from the Kinsey Report; Kiss of the Spider Woman restaged in a psychiatric hospital; the Old Testament rewritten by Tennessee Williams. Blackouts is both a tale and a product of queer inheritance. It is a book that honours its ghosts. Continue reading...

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