Lesbian Love Story: A Memoir in Archives
“Lesbian Love Story has all the vivid detail of a great novel and all the intelligence of a great study… I was continually fascinated, frequently moved, and completely in awe of Possanza’s wit, intelligence, and empathy.” —Stephen McCauley, author of My Ex-Life
For readers of Saidiya Hartman and Jenn Shapland, Lesbian Love Story is an intimate journey into the archives—uncovering the romances and role models written out of history and what their stories can teach us all about how to love
When Amelia Possanza moved to Brooklyn to build a life of her own, she found herself surrounded by queer stories: she read them on landmark placards, overheard them on the pool deck when she joined the world’s largest LGBTQ swim team, and even watched them on TV at home in her cockroach-infested apartment. But these stories rarely featured lesbians who could become her role models, in romance as in life.
This is the story of Possanza’s journey into the archives to recover the stories of lesbians in the 20th Century: who they were, how they loved, why their stories were destroyed, and where their memories echo and live on. Centered around seven love stories for the ages, Possanza’s hunt takes readers from a Drag King show in Bushwick to the home of activists in East Harlem and then onto looking for traces of Sappho in the ruins of Hadrian’s Library. Along the way, she discovers her own love—for swimming, for community, for New York City—and adds her own record to the archive.
At the heart of this innovative telling of history, Possanza asks: What forms of care and community does lesbian love show us? What is the opposite of misogyny, and how do we get there?