“For Today I Am a Boy is beautiful and captivating. Kim Fu reminds us that the human condition is one of change—of becoming, of overcoming—and this novel, in all its complexity, demonstrates how to do so with grace.”
“Sensitively wrought… Fu cleverly juxtaposes the narrative of the father’s attempt at cultural acclimation with the son’s search for a female form. [...] What emerges is a familial and familiar pattern of insidious, heartbreaking self-deception.”
At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name juan chuan, “powerful king.” To his parents, newly settled in small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant father’s dreams of Western masculinity.
Peter and his sisters — elegant Adele, shrewd Helen, and Bonnie the bon vivant — grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own, scattering to Montreal, California, and Berlin. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents’ home. Though his father crowned him “powerful king,” Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl.
Caught in the no man’s land between his dreams for himself and the demands imposed on him, Peter runs a gauntlet of playground bullies, sadistic lovers, Christian ex-gays. But then, after many lonely years, with the help of his far-flung sisters and a young man named John, Peter finds himself inching closer to inhabiting his own life, his own skin.Read more…