in October 2022
Excerpt translated by
About the book:
A kafkaesque novella about a girl who wakes up as a boy.
One morning on waking from a nightmare, Sasha discovered that she had been transformed into a man. The edge of her left hand was wide and rough. When she opened and closed her fist, her knuckles made a sound like wood breaking. And how strange, a pale outline had formed around the red polish on each of her nails. As if during the night they’d grown and spread, then waded, wounded, into their own blood.
She pushed aside the covers with the hope that she might recognize her right hand, which she’d been warming between her knees. But it too was a dry crust of skin. Her grandmother’s silver bracelet, which always hung gracefully around her right wrist, held in place by a purple amethyst clasp, now dug into her flesh. She looked down at her belly. Just beneath sprouted her penis, delicate and defenseless compared to the rest of her body.
What happened to me? she wondered. She’d slept deeply and, as usual, had strange dreams, but now she was awake. She recognized the room, its walls, its smells and sounds: a tangy waft from the room of the girl who ate oatmeal for breakfast; strumming from the guitar of the boy who left his rain boots on the rug in the hall; the clamor of the floating garbage compactor; a trickle of water through the wall by her head. She’d asked the superintendent of the student dorms to check and see whether one of the pipes in there might have burst. She even slipped a note under his door the night before, on her way to work.
But who cared about a pipe after the Flood? At first everyone was overcome by primeval fear. They shrieked, mourned, fell into despair. Soon they learned how to tell the story of what had happened as if it were a fairytale. Once upon a time an enormous wave rose up and drowned all of creation. For days and weeks, the swollen corpses of humans and animals washed up, along with planks of wood, bathtubs, balcony doors.
More about Her Metamorphosis
Michalopoulou constructs a story that in its simplicity reflects on key elements of gender identity theory. – Alexandros Zografakis
Read the full review in greek at Istos.gr
“Her Metamorphosis” invites us to see what we thought we already knew from a different perspective. I guess that’s the job of literature, whatever clothes it wears: it’s a theatrical study of the imagination, a costuming of the theatre of life. – Karen Emmerich
Read the full review in greek at Kathimerini
“Her Metamorphosis”, which is read in a day and then loosely re-read, had been simmering in Michalopoulou for a long time. It is, I think, the product of calm, years of editing and not, say, a knee-jerk reaction to the current boom in queer literature. – Giota Tempridou
Read the full review in greek at Frear
Sasha is a woman from beginning to end. I speak of her only in feminine pronouns. But even the woman with the tight bun, her great love, is a man transformed. Even though he wears pumps and tight skirts, he’s still a man. I’m not changing the pronouns, the world can go to hell. That’s how I imagined them. The metamorphosis in this story is completion, not gender reassignment.
Read the full interview in greek at LIFO
– Are you sad that we were born and raised in a strict gender framework? How do you view the gender fluidity that today’s young people are growing up with?
– I have to tell you that I envy the generation of our daughters for asking questions we didn’t think to ask. We lived trapped in roles; the prudent one, the fatal one. Men, too; the knight, the strong, the tough. We were the last generations of biological determinism, we had to constantly prove femininity and masculinity respectively.
Read the full interview in greek at Kathimerini
Listen to the Politeia Bookstore discussion of AM with Kostas Katsoularis about Her Metamorphosis
View the book presentation of Her Metamorphosis at Faust, Athens