Annabel (Winter novel)
|Publisher||House of Anansi Press|
A baby is born in 1968, in far-from-everywhere Croydon Harbour, Labrador, Canada. He is intersexual – a word unfamiliar to the midwife present at his birth, and to his stoic father and his fanciful mother – with both penis and vagina. His is a masculine world of men who trap for a living, and a father who decided to name him "Wayne" and raise him as male – but his shadow self, Annabel, the name his mother and her best friend Thomasina whisper when they are alone, will live within him for two decades. Wayne heads into the bush with his father, but at home he dreams of synchronized swimming and begs for a sequined bathing suit. He is she, and they are a fluid, pastel contradiction in a rigid, black and white world.
Puberty sets in and there is a medical emergency – Wayne’s abdomen fills with menstrual blood. Lost in his superficial world of being a girl, he begins a stormy friendship with fellow classmate Wally. His father, Treadway, begins to question whether Wally is a good influence on Wayne and wants him to be more boyish. Together with his father, Wayne builds a small bridge over a creek. His father thinks of this as a masculine construction project, but the bridge is actually an expression of Wayne's feminine fantasy life. After Wayne ornaments the bridge with curtains and lights, his father dismantles it, interrupting his friendship with Wally.
As Wayne grows into a young adult, he moves to St. John's, Newfoundland, where he decides to discontinue his masculinizing medication and allow his body to feminize spontaneously. Ultimately, he learns to accept himself as he really is, reconciles with his father, and renews his friendship with Wally.
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