I published a review of Joseph Osmundson’s fragmented memoir Inside/Out over at Poets & Artists:
In 76 brief fragments, Osmundson peers inward, examining his life, his feelings, and his history as a source text to understand the dissolution of an emotionally volatile relationship. This is the story of Osmundson’s romance with Kaliq/Tariq/F—, a man whose real name we never learn, and by extension, a book about Osmundson’s relationship to himself.
The book opens on Osmundson in childhood: in rural Oregon, closer to poverty than middle class, yearning for the attention of a boy in his class. But more than attention: connection. When connection fails, leaving Osmundson ostracized from his peers, he realizes any kind of connection means survival. “I remember thinking, ‘Chad R. is your last link to cool.’ Which meant, let him use you. Which meant, don’t let go. Cling desperately to him. He has something you don’t.”