Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s new book, The Freezer Door, mourns losing “the dream of queer” — a “world without borders and hierarchies” — that she says consumerism, technology and gentrification are destroying.  

Sycamore terms the book a lyric essay. It combines memoir, poetry, a little fiction and plenty of clever criticism as it delves into gender, sex, desire, trauma, disability, gentrification, conformity, commodification, politics, feminism and especially the yearning for connection.

She reads passages from The Freezer Door and dissects topics therein on this week’s Out in the Bay. She laughs, too; introduces us briefly to the ice cube, the ice cube tray and other characters; even skewers the literati a bit: “It’s hard to imagine anything more damaging to literature than literature.”

The Freezer Door has received rave reviews in the New York Times Book Review and Washington Post Book World, is a New York Times Editors’ Choice and is one of Oprah Magazine’s Best LGBTQ Books of 2020.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore has written three novels, a memoir and The Freezer Door. She has edited six anthologies, the latest of which, Between Certain Death and a Possible Future: Queer Writing on Growing up with the AIDS Crisis will be published in Fall 2021.

Here’s our 2013 conversation with Mattilda about her memoir, The End of San Francisco.

And here is a longer reading with literary discussion and Q&A from The Freezer Door virtual book tour if you want to get more in-depth with Mattilda from the Poetry Project,  in conversation with Maggie Nelson.

Photo of Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore by Jesse Mann

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