I've Been Wrong Before : Essays

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From the award-winning essayist and author of the “shrewd as hell and hysterically funny” (Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties) novel Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe comes a moving and unforgettable essay collection about his travels around the globe as he reflects on the power and complexity of human relationships.

From the award-winning essay “Lover’s Theme,” in which Evan James explores the life of a drag queen in San Francisco, to his poignant story of coming out in “One Hell of a Homie,” set against the backdrop of the 1992 film Class Act, this essay collection brilliantly captures both the beauty and pain of relationships—friendly, familiar, and romantic. I’ve Been Wrong Before is an eye-opening and heartfelt illustration of how our differences are often the things that bring us closer together. Masterfully balancing tremendous insight with startling humor, this absorbing collection features Evan James’s “wry intelligence and sense of the absurd” (R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries) and is perfect for fans of Alexander Chee and Maggie Nelson.

Author: Evan James.

Paperback Published March 3 2020 256 pages

"Novelist James (Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe) takes the reader along on a globetrotting coming-of-age as a young gay writer around the turn of the millennium in this promising debut collection. Its selections jump around in chronology from James’s experiences of sexual awakening, at age 10 (incongruously, to hip hop duo Kid ’n Play’s 1992 movie Class Act), to his more mature musings about meeting his partner while working at New York City’s Strand Bookstore. Along the way, James travels the world, from New Zealand (where he turns 30 and visits short story writer Katherine Mansfield’s birthplace) to Cambodia (where he has a near-romantic connection with an Iraqi tourist) to a bathhouse in Montreal, using these experiences to try to better understand himself as both a writer and a gay man." Publishers Weekly

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