Unwieldy Creatures

Unwieldy Creatures

by Addie Tsai

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Unwieldy Creatures, a biracial, queer, gender-swapped retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, follows the story of three beings who all navigate life from the margins: Plum, a queer biracial Chinese intern at one of the world’s top embryology labs, who runs away from home to openly be with her girlfriend only to be left on her own; Dr. Frank, a queer biracial Indonesian scientist who compromises everything she claims to love in the name of science and ambition when she sets out to procreate without sperm or egg; and Dr. Frank’s nonbinary creation, who, painstakingly brought into the world, is abandoned due to complications at birth that result from a cruel twist of revenge. Plum struggles to determine the limits of her own ambition when Dr. Frank offers her a chance to assist with her next project. How far will Plum go in the name of scientific advancement and what is she willing to risk?

“Tsai takes us on a wild ride in which gender, race, class and sexual identity collide on a grand scale. Like the nameless creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we are forced to ask, ‘Who am I?'” —Kathleen Alcalá, author of Spirits of the Ordinary


Unwieldy Creatures, a biracial, queer, gender-swapped retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a tale of doom and ambition and loss and revenge and murder.

“小 籠 包/xiǎolóngbāo/soup dumplings, congee/粥/zhōu, guàbāo/割包/pork belly bun, please, readers, pay close attention to food in Addie Tsai’s Unwieldy Creatures, and how it exists simultaneously in Mandarin and English, which makes food not only sustenance, but a communicative doorway between worlds and people.

Even the protagonist, Plum, who wonders if ‘communication with another is the only thing we have to keep us from the darker depths’ serves as a communicative doorway—Unwieldy Creatures, as a whole, keeps us from darker depths.” —Steven Dunn, author of Potted Meat



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