Ivan E. Coyote is a master storyteller and performer; their beautiful, funny stories about growing up queer in the Canadian north and living out loud on Canada's west coast have attracted big audiences, whether gay, straight, trans, or otherwise. In their passionate and humorous new collection, Ivan takes readers on an intimate journey, both literal and figurative, through the experiences of their life: from their year spent in eastern Canada, to their return to the west coast, to travels in between. Whether discussing the politics of being butch with a pet lapdog, befriending an effeminate young man at a gay camp, or revisiting a forty-year-old heartbreak around her grandmother's kitchen table, Ivan traverses love, gender, and identity with a wistful, perceptive eye and a warmth that's as embracing and powerful as Ivan themself.
Yes, she can bring you to tears with her stories, and yes, the beauty in the unexpected is there, but Coyote's new collection raises the question of identity that is affecting the queer community today.
The stories in Missed Her are as fresh and poignant as those in her previous four collections ... The misunderstandings and mixed signals of human communication aren't always threatening. Often they're just laugh-out-loud funny.
What happens when a woman with "dykey clothes" confronts a man with a bushy beard about the lesbian book he's reading? Is life easier for a butch or a lipstick lesbian? Is it better to be queer in Whitehorse, where you're subjected to direct questions, or in Vancouver, where PC politeness masks embarrassed confusion? Missed Her, a collection by Vancouver writer and performer Ivan E. Coyote, conveys these lifestyle collisions with thoughtful humour.... Thematically, Coyote's writing has grown in complexity and depth.
These vignettes read as though they've been freshly torn from a wanderer's notebook, where they were immediately jotted down so as not to lose the vibrancy of the experience. The result is refreshing and tearfully real---Coyote has a gift for blending the tragic and comic in a way that renders a reader gobsmacked.... The writing in Missed Her is direct yet lyrical, poetic yet unadorned, reaching simultaneously for the heart and the gut with brevity and power.
-Quill & Quire (STARRED REVIEW)
My favorite book this year without a doubt has to go to Ivan Coyote's Missed Her. This collection of short stories are a honest, beautiful and complicated weaving together of queer experience that will break your heart and stitch it back together. Missed Her left me cracked open feeling raw and seen in a way that only the very best books are capable of. It's an absolute must read.
-Sassafras Lowrey, editor of Kicked Out (from Band of Thebes' list of Best Books of 2010)
Once again, Vancouver author Ivan E. Coyote proves that the endearing, often beautiful Canadiana at the heart of our experience is textured with everyday acts of political resistance, subversion, and love. Missed Her, Coyote's sixth book, is a short-story collection that affectionately celebrates the author's rural roots while keeping a sharp eye on the urban intellectual context in which she lives.... Coyote's sense of humour and genuine affection for people from all walks of life bridge urban-rural gaps that might otherwise preclude an effective exploration of the social markers that attempt and fail to define us in traditional, heterosexual terms. The effect is akin to attending a party where Coyote has invited all of her friends and family: it's a motley assortment of people and ideas, but no one feels out of place, and everyone is welcome.
The book is just flat-out wonderful in its humane, sparsely-delivered musings on things we all share, no matter our particulars. If Coyote's queerness is in some way constitutive of her identity as an author, then by the same token it doesn't appear thereby to shut others like me out.
-The Notes Taken
I'm a big fan of Ivan E. Coyote ... Her stories are simple, but underneath their simplicity lies a powerful gender analysis.
There is a depth to Missed Her that resonated with me and made it impossible to put down until I'd finished it.... [It] left me cracked open, feeling raw and seen in a way that only the very best books are capable of.
-The Femme's Guide
This is true storytelling, fictions pulled from life, the elevation of everyday encounters to art. It's something Coyote gets better at with each new collection.
Missed Her is a transcendent collection of stories. Coyote knows the true essence of beauty is vulnerability. Her work is deeply personal, yet universal. It's the humanness and unabashed honesty that sets Coyote apart. Deep down she knows we are all coyotes.
-Telegraph Journal (New Brunswick)
Missed Her is Ivan E. Coyote's sixth solo book, a powerful collection demonstrating Coyote's first-rate story-telling skills and ability to gently weave together topics, including the complexities of family, gender and sexuality, age, community (geographical, queer, and otherwise), and myriad other issues that all seem to point to the larger idea of finding one's "home" in a complicated world.
-American Library Association GLBT Round Table
This collection is full of kick-ass stories of the north, of family, and of gender.
Warm, perceptive storytelling ... These tales, a bracing blend of self-effacing and brave, embrace universal themes within singular moments - "Good Old Days," about teaching memoir writing to a class of senior citizens, both confronts Coyote's concerns about their potential prejudice and realizes the sentiment that "love is just love."
-Richard Labonte, Book Marks
With this collection, more than ever, Coyote delves into the seriousness of sexual conventions and gender roles with a wit that bridges a gap between city and country, oral and written, the self-conscious writer and the contemplative reader. What's more, she makes us think about the uneasy things we try to avoid; she puts a focus on the tacit and not-so-tacit differences between us as a way to understand each other and ourselves.
-The Globe and Mail
Her stories, all culled from her personal experience, yield a glimpse of a life not frequently spoken of in mainstream queer circles. Coyote's perspective on small town queer life resists what Judith Halberstam calls "metronormativity," or the assumption that queer desire and community cannot exist fully outside of urban centers.
Missed Her is a skilfully-crafted and gorgeous anthology, told with talent, tenderness, warmth and sincerity.
-For Books' Sake blog (UK)