This review is for the audiobook version of Restless Town by Madison-Scott Clary. She had been generous enough to briefly give it away for free on her web store, and I felt I should give it a listen, despite me owning it in physical book format already.
Madison (sometimes going under the alias, Makyo) has often experimented with interactive narratives. One of the short stories in this collection “You’re Gone” was initially one of these experiments.
Makyo presents her stories in the audiobook in a way that reminded me of a kind of church sermon, which isn’t too surprising considering her other work. As well, I took note that each story is presented with appropriate content warnings before the stories start.
Each of these stories in the book is set in Sawtooth, Idaho. I would not be surprised from listening to the author’s delivery of this audiobook, that the stories themselves may be partially autobiographical.
The story “Disappearance” is somewhat of a fantasy many queer people such as myself might feel as if they’d want to do. In the story, the main character disfigures their appearance, and over several months documents their new life.
“You’re Gone” made me cry. A story about the loss of a life partner, and then dealing with a family who doesn’t want to acknowledge their relationship.
Presented are a wide range of relatable queer experiences, from coming out as and embracing your true self, to coping with obsessive compulsive disorder, to dealing with vague BDSM party negotiation. Makyo’s sincere delivery of the lines, made me cry along with them, grabbing me by the heart. I honestly wanted to hug them as I kept listening.
Restless Town can be purchased in a variety of formats (physical, ebook, and audiobook) directly from the author’s website, here.