by Libby Ware
In Depression-era Appalachia, an intersex woman without a home of her own plays the role of maiden aunt to her relatives—until an unexpected series of events gives her the opportunity to change her fate.
Lum has always been on the outside. At eight, she was diagnosed with what we now call an intersex condition and is told she can't expect to marry. Now, at thirty-three, she has no home of her own but is shuttled from one relative's house to another—valued for her skills, but never treated like a true member of the family. Everything is turned upside down, however, when the Blue Ridge Parkway is slated to come through her family’s farmland. As people take sides in the fight, the community begins to tear apart—culminating in an act of violence and subsequent betrayal by opponents of the new road. However, the Parkway brings opportunities as well as loss.
Libby Ware lived the first five years of her life in West Virginia, and spent some childhood summers in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia. She is the owner of Toadlily Books, an antiquarian book business, and is also a book collector. The beginning of Lum, excerpted as a short story, "The Circuit," was published in Feminist Studies in 2009, and was a finalist in the Poets & Writers Award for Georgia Writers, judged by Jennifer Egan. Ware lives in Atlanta with her two dogs, Tilly and Robin, and a mile away from her partner, Charlene Ball. Lum won the ALA Stonewall Barbara Gittings Honor Award.
The Queer Book Club was founded who knows how many years ago by two Smith grads, new in town and hoping to meet women. Since then, we've met many smart queers of various genders, read heaps of books, laughed a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We read books by and/or about queers: classics, contemporary and genre fiction, graphic novels, non-fiction, memoirs, plays, and poetry. We convene the third Wednesday of the month at 7 PM. After our discussion of the book chosen for the month, we adjourn to a local watering hole for socializing. Join us, even if you didn't get around to reading the book--you never know who you might meet!