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From the publisher
Juan Gay is on his deathbed. He has decided to spend his last days in The Palace: a monumental, fading institution in the desert, which was an asylum in another lifetime. There, a young man tends to this dying soul – someone who Juan met only once, but who has haunted the edges of his life ever since.
As the end approaches, the two trade stories – resurrecting lost loves, lives, mothers and fathers – and their lives are woven, ineluctably, into a broader story of pathology and oppression. Charged with sifting through Juan’s belongings, our narrator uncovers a copy of Sex Variants: A Study in Homosexual Patterns, its pages blacked out, censored, reduced down to poetic dispatches. And, as he sifts through the manuscript, another story is told: that of Jan Gay – a radical, queer anthropologist – whose ground-breaking work was co-opted, and stifled, by the committee she served.
Blackouts is a haunting, dreamlike rumination on memory and erasure, on the ways in which stories sustain histories. Both emotionally and intellectually daring, Justin Torres blends fact with fiction – drawing from historical records, screenplays, testimony and image – force us to look again at the world we have inherited and the narratives we have received.