‘In the Darkroom’ Explores Family and Gender Identity

Clay Smith, editor-in-chief of Kirkus Reviews, shares his top reading pick for the month.

By Laura RiceJune 28, 2016 10:28 am|

The cover of the latest issue of Kirkus Reviews features a woman whose face you may not recognize, but a name you likely will. Susan Faludi – a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who’s written a lot about feminism and gender. In her latest book, “In the Darkroom,” the topic becomes intensely personal.

Clay Smith, editor-in-chief of Kirkus Reviews, says the book is about the author’s father, who after years of being estranged from his daughter, came out as transgender.

“As (the author) was going up, he was a pretty violent and dictatorial person,” Smith says. “He returned to his native Hungary, that’s where she got an email from him in 2004, saying ‘Dear Susan, I’ve got some interesting news.'”

Faludi then journeys to Hungary to try to rebuild the relationship with her father. But even after transitioning, all of her father’s stubbornness and inflexibility was still there.

“This book becomes a real investigation into identity and personality.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.