It's 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, makes zines, and is a flaneur with a rich dating life. But Paul's also got a secret: he's a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Paul transforms his body and his gender at will as he crossed the country––a journey and adventure through the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure.
Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is a riotous, razor-sharp bildungsroman whose hero/ine wends his/her way through a world gutted by loss, pulsing with music, and opening into an array of intimacy and connections.
"Mixes pop culture, gender theory, and smut, but [Lawlor’s] greatest achievement is that Paul is no mere symbol but a vibrantly yearning being." —The New Yorker
“Bends genre as well as gender. . . . Difficult to quote in a family newspaper.” —The New York Times
“A fantasy spin an all-too-pertinent issues of gender and sex.” —Harper’s Bazaar
"I'm loving Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl. . . . It’s pulling at my little queer midwestern heartstrings." —Danez Smith, The Guardian
"Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is playful, sexy, smart, and like nothing else I—or you—have ever read before." —Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
“Restless, muscular, and playful. . . . A tight satisfying masterpiece.” —Eileen Myles, author of Evolution
“Fast-paced and cheeky . . . a touchingly sweet-hearted and deeply cool book.” —Michelle Tea, author of Black Wave
"I love this book in all its ecstasy, wit, and hilarity. . . . As rare as it is contagious." —Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts
“Joyous and ever-changing, whip-smart and brilliantly perverse, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is quite simply one of the most exciting—and one of the most fun—novels of the decade.”
—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
"If anyone has ever endeavored to reclaim the canonical—specifically Ovid and Gertrude Stein—not to queer it, but to genderqueer it, it is Lawlor." —The Paris Review
“It’s not hard to see why Lawlor’s been heralded at the forefront of trans literature. This is an original addition to the trans fiction canon.” —Dazed, 11 new LGBTQ books to read in 2019
"Endlessly inventive. . . . Magic." —Kaitlyn Greenidge, Lenny Letter
“Intoxicatingly rousing. . . . A timelessly contemporary exposé of an antihero with a heart made of fire.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“Groundbreaking. . . . A fresh novel that elevates questions of sexual identity and intimacy."
—Kirkus (starred review)