Thursday, January 26, 2006

More Immersion Lit

Try this on for size. Female author Norah Vincent "becomes" a man for eighteen months. No surgery involved, just:

a flat-top haircut, a new wardrobe of sports jackets and rugby shirts, a pair of rectangular glasses, workouts to build up the shoulders and add 15 pounds of bulk, a cupless sports bra to flatten the breasts, a convincing layer of facial stubble (made of something called wool crepe hair and applied with an adhesive called stoppelpaste) and some lessons in male speech patterns with a Juilliard voice coach.

(See the full New York Times review). Vincent chronicles her year-and-a-half incognito in Self-Made Man. Check out the cover; as a man (and as a woman, for that matter), she looks just like Clive Owen.

As immersion stories go, this one probably owes a lot to Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin's account of masquerading as a black man in the 1959 American south.

OK, I have to quit plugging books that I haven't actually read. This got me in trouble at Christmas, when I bought Sally's dad a copy of The Sign and the Seal, a book that I was only half-way through at the time. Shortly after, I realized the book descends into quackery about half-way through, and had to retract my endorsement of the book after I'd already given it to him.

So, read at your own peril. If anyone has a first-hand review of any of these books I've been talking about, please share. They're all on my list, and I'll share my thoughts as I get to them.

No comments: