A rich and moving epistolary memoir about transgender childhood, sexual trauma, motherhood, and a young queer life in 1970s Argentina
In these hilarious and heartbreaking letters, Cecilia Gentili reinvents the trans memoir, putting the confession squarely between the writer and her enemies, paramours and friends. Writing to childhood figures such as her rapist’s daughter, her father’s mistress, her best friend, and her mother, Gentili probes deeply into the bitter cruelty, buried secrets, and delicious gossip of a small town. Is she here for revenge, or forgiveness? Both! And more! A story of sex, theft, murder, motherhood, and outrageous fashion choices, Faltas is a beautiful, messy meditation on what it takes to heal, and even grow.
“A painstaking, personal and power-filled manifesto for survivors and trans women and anyone dreaming and yearning on the margins. FALTAS is as intentional, resilient, original and acerbic as its activist author.” —Janet Mock, author of Redefining Realness & Surpassing Certainty
“Cecilia Gentili is a brilliant writer whose FALTAS (which is Spanish for “errors”) are infallible reports from the front lines of trans literature. She has so much courage and grit and is outrageously daring. The villains and saints in her childhood and adolescence she evokes with truth and humour. This book is irresistible.”
—Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story and A Previous Life
“Cecilia Gentili is a born storyteller — her voice jumps from every page. Her humour and warmth disarm you before sudden turns into the shocking and accusatory. FALTAS pulsates with the same thrill as listening in secretly to a phone call, opening someone else's mail, reading a strangers' diary. You know it's wrong but you would do anything to keep going.”
—Morgan M Page, writer, Framing Agnes
“These are bewitching accounts that do everything all at once: accuse, forgive, mock, heal, teach, seduce; stories that transcend classification and reality even as they tell hard truths. Cecilia Gentili is a singular voice that you can’t miss.”
—Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, Baby
“A revelation … emotionally and ethically complex … a story of learning to work with what little power one has … an outstanding quality of FALTAS is that it avoids melodrama and moralizing. What it depicts is not a fallen world but the ordinary state of things.”
—McKenzie Wark, Liber
”In some ways I may never finish processing this book. Gentili's writing is so raw without ever feeling unpolished, so personal and honest and unflinching. Alongside Dream Rooms and A Year Without a Name: A Memoir, it is a trans memoir that apologizes for nothing and refuses to make compromises for cisgender readers. Gentili's treatment of the trauma central to FALTAS is unparalleled; nothing feels sensationalized but nothing is shied away from. A phenomenal, important book.”
—Gus Thompson, The Ivy Bookshop (Baltimore, MD)
“A collection of letters that is as heartwarming and funny as it is heartbreaking and sad.”
“A uniquely intimate and powerful story of reclaiming and rebuilding from childhood trauma. This will be a tough read for many people, but Gentili rewards readers with a perspective on becoming your true self that is valuable for any identity.”
—Porter Square Books (Cambridge, MA)
Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Latinx Studies. LGBTQ+ Studies. Women's Studies.
Publisher Website McKenzie Wark @ Liber ReviewFall Queer and Feminist Books Guide @ Autostraddle25 Books to Look For @ Boston Magazine
Originally from Argentina, Cecilia Gentili came to the USA pursuing a safer life as a transgender woman. She lived undocumented for 10 years, hustling doing sex work which came with drug use. After surviving arrests and an immigration detention, she accessed recovery services and won asylum. She subsequently served as Director of Policy at GMHC and founded Transgender Equity Consulting, which works to ensure all people living on the margins receive dignity and respect. A storyteller and actress, Cecilia has appeared in FX's Pose and her own one-woman show . FALTAS is her first book.