Maybe the Moon

It’s telling that the author describes ‘Maybe the Moon,‘ as being ‘partly autobiographical,’ despite the narrator being a three-foot-tall thirtysomething straight woman and not a middle-aged gay man. The novel was partly based on the diaries of Maupin’s friend, Tamara de Treaux, who was the actor inside E.T. Maupin’s heroine, Cadence 'Cady' Roth, had a similar role, sweating inside a rubber and fibreglass elf called Mr. Woods. Everyone in her world loves Mr Woods, but no one knows Cady exists.

The ‘partly autobiographical,’ nature of the book is in its fearless linking of different kinds of otherness- littleness, Jewishness and queerness. Like her gay friends, Cady has a whole world of unpalatable options; primarily whether it’s better to be demonised or invisible, and despite her height, Cady is anything but easy to ignore. Sometimes Cady’s psychic wounds and battles feel like they are those of all other marginalised people and sometimes they are very specific to one person‘s life- a short and extraordinary life, which not many of us would have the courage to choose.

Coming at a point in his career between the sometimes mean-spirited anger of the later Tales of the City books and the mellowed folksiness of his later work, there‘s a brilliant anger at work here; Cady/Maupin’s rage runs through the book like a neon West Hollywood fuse, softened by isolated moments of companionship, love, sex and joy but building to a climax that offers little false comfort. If you ever want to see the world from another angle, Cady Roth is your woman.

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Armistead Maupin
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