‘Let’s Talk About Love’, ‘Tash Hearts Tolstoy’, and the Asexual Coming-of-Age Story

acebooks

Sex is considered an intrinsic part of being human, and the development of a relationship with sex and sexuality an intrinsic part of growing up. This societal narrative leaves people on the asexual spectrum—those who do not experience sexual attraction—on the margins and considered abnormal. This can have an especially negative effect on asexual adolescents who are not experiencing the ‘rite of passage’ that is sexual desire and experimentation with sexual relationships. This is why—as with all queer identities—it is important to represent and normalise asexuality within fiction, particularly fiction aimed at young people.

In this paper I examine two young adult novels with asexual protagonists—Kathryn Ormsbee’s Tash Hearts Tolstoy (2017) and Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love (2018)—and how their protagonists’ asexual identity is woven into their coming-of-age stories and romance arcs. I explore the tropes, stereotypes, and misconceptions that have traditionally informed media depictions of asexuality, and how these novels divert from them to provide a more accurate and nuanced representation of the asexual experience; and, in doing so, establish patterns and tropes of their own from which a uniquely ‘asexual narrative’ suggests itself.

This academic paper is now published, out in the world, and free to read in RoundTable!

3 Comments

Filed under Archetypes and Genre, Fun with Isms

3 responses to “‘Let’s Talk About Love’, ‘Tash Hearts Tolstoy’, and the Asexual Coming-of-Age Story

  1. I read that in the metro the other day and it was rather really good. 😀 You really have a really good academic writing voice.

    • Thank you! It’s really good to hear that I’m readable (being accessible to a not-necessarily-academic audience is important to me) and that my work makes for good train reading 😀

      • I don’t know if I’m really a not-necessarily-academic audience given that I read academic articles all day (less so at the moment, but still quite a bit), but it is definitely accessible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s