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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for The Call-Out
Book cover for The Call-Out

Winner of the 2023 Lambda Award for Transgender Fiction

A fast-paced, debut tragicomedy of manners written in verse that is funny, literary, philosophical, witty, sometimes bitchy and sometimes heartbreaking.

Aashvi, Kate, Bette, Keiko, Gaia, and Day are six queer women surviving and thriving in Brooklyn. Visiting all the fixtures of fashionable 21st century queer society—picnics, literary readings, health conferences, drag shows, punk houses, community accountability processes, Grindr hookups—The Call-Out also engages with pressing questions around economic precarity, sexual consent, racism in queer spaces, and feminist theory, in the service of asking what it takes to build, or destroy, a marginalized community.

A novel written in verse, The Call-Out recalls the Russian literary classic Eugene Onegin, but instead of 19th century Russian aristocrats crudely solved their disagreements with pistols, the participants in this rhyming drama have developed a more refined weapon, the online call-out, a cancel-culture staple. In this passionate tangle of modern relationships, where a barbed tweet can be as dangerous as the narrator’s bon-mots, Cat Fitzpatrick has fashioned a modern novel of manners that gives readers access to a vibrant cultural underground.

Book cover for The Call-Out
Book cover for The Call-Out

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“Funny and queer and honest and dark and daring and brilliant.”

“The sweetest, truest tale in verse Of how we sloshed and spoke and swived. Of broken hearts and sweet reverse, “Trans lit” and all it catalyzed.”

“Cat Fitzpatrick is on the short list of contemporary writers whose work is actually fun.”

“How does Fitzpatrick do it? How does she see it all so clearly--the grace of trans women who play Zelda in gross apartments, the social maneuver behind the moral absolute, the loopy mores of the picnic, the queer lit reading, the library date? She's the heiress to Thackeray and Rochester, and we're so lucky to have this gossipy, glamorous, and vital novel: one all about justice and the messy queers who have to build it.”

“For fuck's sake! Am I seriously telling you that a novel-in-verse about Brooklyn trans girl drama is not only one of the funniest things I've read this year, but also one of the most skewering, perceptive, and empathetic looks at modern life?!? Yes I am, because it's absolutely true. If you don't read The Call-Out now, you'll just be sad your friends did it first.”

“Cat Fitzpatrick’s novel-in verse, The Call-Out, turns t-girl gossip into fine art.”

“This is just fucking sonnets, Cat.”

“The aristocrats of Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin resolved conflict with a duel at dawn (or whenever the combatants could be bothered to show up to their fate). In The Call-Out, a new novel in verse by poet and Littlepuss Press editor Cat Fitzpatrick, queers adopt an alternate approach that is, perhaps, no less ritualistic: the accountability process. After one young trans woman pushes past another’s boundaries in a bar bathroom, a call-out post rounds up a ragtag response team: A porn star-gay healthcare provider, an aspiring novelist, a grouchy, self-styled trans elder, and a sex-shop clerk meet in an attempt to remediate the offending party. The Call-Out’s rhyming drama unfolds across New York City and the outskirts of the Philly Trans Health Conference: Trans life proliferates, unstoppable, on the edges of medicalization and cultures on the lip of a Straw-Ber-Ita can. In this spirit, Fitzpatrick gives her characters space to be as righteous, manipulative, and recriminatory as they are charming, vivacious, or brimming with questionable opinions about Roman history. Even as they make a series of lesser and greater messes, the book urges us—in meter—to care about them, not least the ones blustering to conceal the fragile newness of being early in transition. Fragility is a state of risk: When one is in the spiky, brittle position of asserting the self, it doesn’t take much to slip and cut another person up.”

“Cat’s voice is so recognizably her own: chatty, witty, provocative, teasing. ... This is a book about trans life in Brooklyn, from dance floor to bedroom to literary reading. It weaves together the stories of several women who are linked, though they may not know it, by sex, by proximity, by friends or exes. They’re linked as well by the narrator, Laura: a woman who notices the budding desires of others and the trouble they aim themselves for, and who takes pleasure in being a chronicler until she finds she can’t stay out of trouble herself. The people of The Call-Out are deliciously familiar. You know them, or you’ve seen them at the club or in the bookstore. You’ve wondered about their flings and their clashes—now you can get all the details.”

Cat Fitzpatrick

Cat Fitzpatrick is the Editrix at LittlePuss Press, the Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University—Newark. She is the author of a collection of poems, Glamourpuss (Topside Press, 2016) and co-edited the anthology Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction & Fantasy from Transgender Writers, which won the ALA Stonewall Award for Literature. The Call-Out is her first novel.