Upright Women Wanted (MP3 CD)
Literature can be a form of escapism that at its best maps out the ways we can show up in our own lives. Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey is one of those demonstrations. It’s got all the adventure of a solid Western and will pair well with the resurgence of True Grit on many reading lists. When Esther stows away in the back of a traveling librarian's wagon, we are ready to skip town with her. But as we cross the dusty desert of a post-climate-apocalypse American West, it's the community she finds with her travel-mates that shows us the way out of the mire of our preconceptions and self-doubt. The rebel librarians who set Esther on her new path practice the kind of community that nourishes and protects and that we shouldn't wait until an apocalypse to develop. Sarah Gailey's whole body of work is premised on these lessons, from Magic for Liars to their ongoing newsletter recipe series for the pandemic, "Stone Soup." The joy of reading a novel that offers us something in return for sending our minds on a journey someplace far away is that we’ve never really left; what Gailey has to tell us matters right here and right now.— Ruby
In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity. "That girl's got more wrong notions than a barn owl's got mean looks." Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her-a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.