Beautifully written book that addresses gender in some very interesting ways. It’s about a genderless, hermaphroditic race named Wraeththu that evolves from humanity, and is able to alter men into beings like themselves—and don’t worry if the concept seems too sci-fi for your tastes; it’s very character driven and really doesn’t read like sci-fi at all.
You get a full range of characters’ reactions to their upturned gender. Some struggle with it; some embrace their dual nature and blame humanity’s decline on not recognizing that they all contained both masculine and feminine aspects; some groups try to superimpose gender roles onto themselves; and then there’s the glorious moment of a second-generation Wraeththu perplexed by the silly old concept of gender. The really fascinating thing is how much the ideologies and norms range from one group of Wraeththu to another; there’s the warlike Varr who divide themselves into a masculine soldier class and a feminine breeding class, the ultra-egalitarian Gelaming, and plenty of others in between–and of course you get to hear each group’s commentary on how barbaric the others are.
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