A Year Without a Name: A Memoir (Paperback)

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A Year Without a Name: A Memoir By Cyrus Dunham Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

"A jagged coming-of-gender story told with total vulnerability. The voice is astoundingly intelligent while staying grounded in the realm of feelings + introspection. Captivating.

recommended if you like: T. Kira Madden, truth"

- Michael


A "stunning" (Hanif Abdurraqib), "unputdownable" (Mary Karr) meditation on queerness, family, and desire. 

How do you know if you are transgender? How do you know if what you want and feel is real? How do you know whether to believe yourself? Cyrus Dunham’s life always felt like a series of imitations—lovable little girl, daughter, sister, young gay woman. But in a culture of relentless self-branding, and in a family subject to the intrusions and objectifications that attend fame, dissociation can come to feel normal.

A Lambda Literary Award finalist, Dunham’s fearless, searching debut brings us inside the chrysalis of a transition inflected as much by whiteness and  proximity to wealth as by gender, asking us to bear witness to an uncertain and exhilarating process that troubles our most basic assumptions about identity. Written with disarming emotional intensity in a voice uniquely his, A Year Without a Name is a potent, thrillingly unresolved meditation on queerness, family, and selfhood.

Named a Most Anticipated Book of the season by:
O Magazine
Harper's Bazaar

About the Author

Cyrus Dunham is a writer and organizer living in Los Angeles. A Year Without a Name is their first book.

Praise For…

"Cyrus Grace Dunham is such a tender, open, and nuanced writer, and his book allows itself to be messy and complicated in the name of unflinching honesty. A stunning account of both longing and belonging, A Year Without a Name made every corner of my heart sing."—Hanif Abdurraqib, New York Times bestsellingauthor of THEY CAN'T KILL US UNTIL THEY KILL US and GO AHEAD IN THE RAIN

"Cyrus Grace
Dunham has written a classic memoir-passionate and clear eyed and
unputdownable. I've never seen a gender journey rendered in more tender,
riveting detail. Bravo to this
extraordinary new voice."—Mary Karr, author of THE LIARS' CLUB, CHERRY, LIT, and THE ART OF MEMOIR

"Cyrus's book is raw, beautiful and
uncompromisingly honest: a slippery, vital account of gender, family and the
longing to be real. I read it with my heart in my mouth."—Olivia Laing, author of THE LONELY CITY and CRUDO

"A work of extraordinarily intimate confession rendered in startling, sparkling -- and addictive -- prose. With erudition, frankness, and eloquence, Dunham braids a propulsive narrative momentum together with exquisite particulars of daily life. This book, simply put, summons a private and deeply pleasurable exchange with its reader. In the grand tradition, it keeps us company."—Jordy Rosenberg,author of CONFESSIONS OF THE FOX

"A Year Without a Name is staggering, intimate, and astonishing; you can't help but be awed by the end of it. I'm grateful for the journey this memoir took me on, for what Dunham illuminates about loving ourselves and others."—Bryan Washington, author of LOT

"Cyrus Grace Dunham's memoir is unflinching. His unsettlement about gender is profound, his writing about it genuine and affecting. A Year Without a Name let me travel with Dunham on his difficult, sometimes treacherous, sometimes beautiful, always memorable path."—Lynne Tillman, author of MEN AND APPARITIONS

"Dunham's deeply felt, forthright, lucid accounting of the complex process of determining who they are is astonishing in its intimacy and generosity, and serves as a reminder of how difficult, but how necessary, it is to be honest with ourselves about who we know ourselves to be."
Kristen Iversen, NYLON

"An honest, reflective reckoning well worth reading."—Tomi Obaro, BUZZFEED

"'Devotion is the closest thing I've known to a stable gender,' Dunham
writes in this deeply intimate memoir. Lucid, unvarnished prose makes the book
compulsively readable even as it wrestles with the weightiness of transition
and identity."—O MAGAZINE

"Raw and powerful."—VOGUE

"It's a quick
read, but punchy--nearly every sentence is sharp, full of importance, at once
deeply intellectual and ethereal. Dunham navigates how confusing gender is: how
useless it can be while also existing as an essential facet of identity. Dunham
stays true to their unfinished story by packing a lot of meaning into just 176
pages but never reaching concrete conclusions. But the concrete would be
antithetical to the story; Dunham lives in the truth that all of us are
unfinished, forever growing and learning. This in itself is a very queer frame
of thought."—REWIRE

"Shifting between identifying as Grace
and Cyrus, Dunham gives readers an honest look at gender transition,
solidifying their fresh voice in a crucial national conversation about gender
and identity."—TIME

"A profoundly honest memoir written
in succinct language that often has the power of a punch and resists tying up
tricky situations in a neat bow."—ELLE

"Not all memoirists reckon with themselves as severely and provocatively as Dunham does, particularly when it comes to the weight, responsibility, and, at times, unwanted consequences of a name...A Year Without a Name teaches us that gender identity and names are not as static as we might have thought. In fact, both are more like the process of self-discovery - slippery, complicated, ongoing."—BUSTLE

"An anti-memoir, set against the idea that Cyrus, or you, or I,
must believe one consistent story about our life...For Dunham, exploring gender
and sex means exploring embodiment and uncertainty. They live in-and have
sexual feelings within-a body that won't settle down, that does not seem to
want to take clear form. It's a body, Dunham discovers, that needs to be valued
as a kind of chrysalis."—THE ATLANTIC

"CyrusGrace Dunham has written a complicated, necessary addition to the transliterary canon. Readers get to know Cryus as Dunham getsto know Cyrus, and the memoir makes clear that one's journey to figuring outtheir gender is a messy, life-long process."—ADVOCATE

"In a scant 176 pages, Dunham pens a surprisingly
wide existential exploration of what it means to be human; an honest, beautiful
memoir that isn't afraid to live in the unknown."—SarahNeilson, LitHub

"His writing about family and notoriety is the richest and most
perversely fascinating in the book, because it makes you feel queasy for
finding it so magnetic. Fame is addressed with the same conflict and emotion
that Cyrus devotes to his queerness and gender transition."—THE CUT

"Candid and compassionate, this book
offers a view of one person's trans experience that defies categorization as
much as it defies resolution. Elegant, eloquent, and deeply personal."—KIRKUS REVIEWS

"Cyrus Grace Dunham is a mess, and they aren't trying to hide
it. In their new memoir, the writer and activist complicates accepted
narratives about transgender folks - ones that are steeped in binary,
essentialist notions about gender identity. Dunham isn't afraid to share their
uncertainty about the source of their discontent with identity, whether it's
more social, more physical, or a combination of both."—OUT MAGAZINE
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316444972
ISBN-10: 0316444979
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: June 1st, 2021
Pages: 192
Language: English