Dead Collections: A Novel (Paperback)
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A whirlwind romance between an eccentric archivist and a grieving widow explores what it means to be at home in your own body in this clever, humorous, and heartfelt novel.
When archivist Sol meets Elsie, the larger than life widow of a moderately famous television writer who's come to donate her wife's papers, there's an instant spark. But Sol has a secret: he suffers from an illness called vampirism, and hides from the sun by living in his basement office. On their way to falling in love, the two traverse grief, delve into the Internet fandom they once unknowingly shared, and navigate the realities of transphobia and the stigmas of carrying the "vampire disease."
Then, when strange things start happening at the collection, Sol must embrace even more of the unknown to save himself and his job. DEAD COLLECTIONS is a wry novel full of heart and empathy, that celebrates the journey, the difficulties and joys, in finding love and comfort within our own bodies.
About the Author
Isaac Fellman is the author of The Breath of the Sun (published under his pre-transition first name), which won the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. He is an archivist at a queer historical society in San Francisco.
One of The Atlantic's Must-Read Books of '22
"It’s tempting to slot into the most evident groove of interpretation with ‘Dead Collections’: that vampirism is a metaphor for being trans…But Sol’s story is much messier, much funnier, and a lot more interesting than a one-to-one allegory...[a] thoughtful, acebric, bracingly hopeful book."
--New York Times Book Review
"Fellman thoughtfully examines gender, sexuality, and belonging through an unforgettable main character, who explores what it means to truly embody himself. This bold and self-aware story delivers the goods."
--Publishers Weekly *Starred Review*
"The instant spark of attraction between Sol and Elsie and the romance that unfolds between them is very sweet, very intimate and very, very queer. In general Sol is a great character, and his voice is the core of the novel. Like Fellman’s previous work, this is a memoir written from a unique point of view, and every part of Sol’s identity is important ... Dead Collections is a...literary achievement, a book so firmly anchored in space and time, and so rooted in queer and trans intimacy that it achieves [a] hyperreal quality."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"A moving and provocative novel, that caresses the decay nibbling at the hard edges of postmodern officescapes, exposing a sexy, neurotic, cinematic vampire love story bubbling up from the ruins." –Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox
"An imaginative work by a Lambda Award–winning author told through narrative, screenplay, texts, and emails. Lovers of fanfic, city-set fiction, and the supernatural will relish this book’s dreamlike walk on the wild side of twilight."
"I wish this book was a song so I could crank up the volume and play it on repeat. Dead Collections is so raucously funny, sexy and engrossing from page one that you may not immediately realize that Fellman has quietly revolutionized about four different genres in one single, masterfully-crafted book... a singular, gripping, tremendously fun story." –Calvin Kasulke, author of Several People are Typing
"This book kept delighting and astonishing me with little insights and conversations that felt like I was eavesdropping on people I desperately wanted to be friends with. Utterly refreshing and thrilling. Dead Collections is a marvel that left me feeling as if miracles might lurk behind every doorway and inside every old box of papers." –Charlie Jane Anders, author of Victories Greater Than Death
"Author Fellman has sensitively constructed the complex internal landscape of a multilayered protagonist whose self-consciousness, quirks, and anxieties are palpable; vampire or not, Sol is a uniquely relatable character whose inner life jumps off the page. Though Sol and Elsie’s relationship sometimes veers into the saccharine, their shared vulnerability as each grapples with their sexual and gender identities is genuinely moving. Most of all, the book’s musings about bodies—their trials, tribulations, and pleasures; the ways they sometimes serve and sometimes oppose their owners—provides a deep, rich undercurrent ... Unique and emotionally deep."
"There's something of the feeling that comes from hanging out at your friend's work after-hours – a little fuzzy, a little surreal, a sense of getting away with something without a commensurate sense of what, if any, rules one is breaking. A remarkably efficient book about untidyness." –Daniel M. Lavery, author of Something That May Shock and Discredit You
"Upsetting in the most satisfying way possible and beautifully clever. Dead Collections is full of wonderful details both phantasmagoric and all too real. Filled to the brim with things that grab onto your brain and won't let go." –Mattie Lubchansky, artist