Upright women wanted

Sarah Gailey

Book - 2020

"Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her--a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing"--

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Subjects
Genres
Suspense fiction
Dystopian fiction
Science fiction
Published
New York : A Tom Doherty Associates Book 2020.
Edition
First Edition
Language
English
Item Description
"A Tor.com Book"--Title page verso.
Physical Description
176 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781250213587
1250213584
Main Author
Sarah Gailey (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In a post-apocalyptic American West, Librarians deliver Approved Materials to isolated towns and outposts. They are also unwittingly delivering Esther, who ran away from home to escape an arranged marriage. She imagines the hardscrabble life of the Librarian will help her overcome the feelings she had for her best friend, Beatriz, who was hanged for possessing Unapproved Materials. Alas, the Librarians are not what they seem, and Head Librarian Bet and her companion, Leda, are barely convinced to let Esther stay on, lest she compromise their true mission. As they pick up their real cargo, Esther learns the ropes from surly apprentice Cye, who challenges everything Esther thought she knew about gender roles and feelings. Combining winking humor, cinematic landscapes, heart-stopping action sequences, and romances that will leave readers silently squeeing, Gailey's (Magic for Liars, 2019) slim novel is a feat of writerly sorcery that packs a sweeping political epic into fewer than 200 pages. Even as readers are charmed by the book's sense of righteous rebellion and queer glee, the lesson Esther learns—that everyone has a right to be who they are—will catch them right in the feels. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In a post-apocalyptic American West, Librarians deliver Approved Materials to isolated towns and outposts. They are also unwittingly delivering Esther, who ran away from home to escape an arranged marriage. She imagines the hardscrabble life of the Librarian will help her overcome the feelings she had for her best friend, Beatriz, who was hanged for possessing Unapproved Materials. Alas, the Librarians are not what they seem, and Head Librarian Bet and her companion, Leda, are barely convinced to let Esther stay on, lest she compromise their true mission. As they pick up their real cargo, Esther learns the ropes from surly apprentice Cye, who challenges everything Esther thought she knew about gender roles and feelings. Combining winking humor, cinematic landscapes, heart-stopping action sequences, and romances that will leave readers silently squeeing, Gailey's (Magic for Liars, 2019) slim novel is a feat of writerly sorcery that packs a sweeping political epic into fewer than 200 pages. Even as readers are charmed by the book's sense of righteous rebellion and queer glee, the lesson Esther learns—that everyone has a right to be who they are—will catch them right in the feels. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Esther Augustus has fled town after her lover was hanged for possessing "unlawful materials"—also known as resistance propaganda. Stealing off in the librarians' wagon, Esther believed that becoming one of the "morally upright" and chaste women who brought approved reading to towns across the country would save her from herself. Except that librarians Leda and Bet are a couple and in charge of bringing parcels—women escaping dire situations—across state lines to the resistance areas in Utah. When one of their "parcels" turns out to be even more trouble than first expected, Esther and the librarians load up their pistols, ready for a fight. Esther jumps from the frying pan into the fire, just where she needed to be to discover how to be her own woman. VERDICT Gailey sets this adventurous novella that twists a historical trope into a singular story in an alternate future Southwest populated with bandits, shoot-outs, and fierce queer people. Readers will root for these rowdy librarians.—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Gailey (Magic for Liars) pits librarian spies against the oppressive government of a future Southwestern America in this dazzling neo-western adventure. After Esther Augustus's best friend and crush Beatriz is executed for possessing unapproved reading materials, Esther's father, the superintendent of the Lower Southwest Territory, arranges for a political marriage between Esther and Beatriz's fiancé. Esther flees by stowing away in the caravan of the Librarians, state employees who distribute approved literature to isolated towns. Once discovered, Esther is shocked to learn that the Librarians are actually a hotbed of queer subversion: stern Bet and motherly Leda are a long-term lesbian couple, and their cranky apprentice, Cye, is nonbinary. The Librarians agree to take Esther to Utah, an insurrectionist camp, after picking up a "package" of other refugees. Along the way, Esther grows disillusioned with the homophobic government propaganda she's read all her life and develops feelings for Cye. During a brazen attempt to prove herself useful to the Librarians, Esther stumbles upon frightening information about one of the refugees they're escorting, plunging them all into danger. Gailey's gorgeous writing and authentic characters make this slim volume a pure delight. Readers will relish this showcase of Gailey's striking talents. Agent: DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Feb.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A near-future exploration of queer identity, written in the style of a pulp western, finds a woman stowing away to escape her arranged marriage to a man who was once engaged to the late best friend she secretly loved.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her-a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A 2021 Hugo Award Finalist!A 2021 Locus Award Finalist!A 2020 ALA Booklist Top 10 SF/F Pick!A Booklist Editor's Choice Pick!Book Riot's Best Books of 2020 So Far!Named a Best of 2020 Pick for NPR | NYPL | Booklist | Bustle | Den of GeekIn Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.“That girl’s got more wrong notions than a barn owl’s got mean looks.”Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her—a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.Praise for Upright Women Wanted"A good old-fashioned horse opera for the 22nd century. Gunslinger librarians of the apocalypse are on a mission to spread public health, decency, and the revolution."—Charles Stross "A dazzling neo-western adventure. . . . Gailey’s gorgeous writing and authentic characters make this slim volume a pure delight."—Publishers Weekly, starred review