Still Life

A Novel

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Pub Date 10 Sep 2024 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2024

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Description

A profound and piercing tribute to messy webs of queer friendship and to what is left behind in transition.

Everything in Edith’s life is approaching disaster. Her writing career is stagnant. Her love life is a mess. Her ex, Tessa, is marrying a man. Her teeth are rotting in her skull. And her best friend, Val, is dead.

Still Life volleys between the present and recent past. Edith was a bumbling college “boy,” pre-transition, in love with Tessa, enamored by Val, and drowning in Boston. She and Tessa called each other Joni and Joan, an homage to fledgling adulthood’s musical backdrop. Now, Edith is wracked with guilt over Val. A sometimes-lover, trans mentor, purveyor of estrogen pills and wisdom from a life on the fringe, Val was everything Tessa wasn’t and everything Edith needed. Was Valerie's fatal car crash Edith's fault? Would she have stayed put if Edith had loved her better?

Infused with pop culture, cigarettes, and Sondheim, Katherine Packert Burke traces the lives of three women, trans and cis, here and gone, to craft a tableau of modern womanhood.

About the Author: Katherine Packert Burke is a graduate of the Clarion Writer's Workshop in San Diego and the MFA program at the University of Alabama. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


A profound and piercing tribute to messy webs of queer friendship and to what is left behind in transition.

Everything in Edith’s life is approaching disaster. Her writing career is stagnant. Her love...


Advance Praise

"Still Life is vibrantly, brilliantly alive—by turns steely and delicate, wintry and warm, tart and bittersweet, elegiac and joyous. Just like the music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim (this novel’s patron saint, quietly ever-present), Katherine Packert Burke’s writing is cerebral and exquisitely precise yet brimming with feeling." -James Frankie Thomas, author of Idlewild

"Katherine Packert Burke’s Still Life is everything you want from a Künstlerroman: smart, sexy, funny, sly, and exceptionally queer. With biting insights and heartbreaking attention, this debut captures the daunting thrill of becoming an artist while becoming yourself." -Isle McElroy, author of People Collide

"Katherine Packert Burke has written such a warm book on red-state trans loneliness and the very real loves, cis and trans, that circle it. I love the jokes and nicknames; the riffs on Paul Cézanne, Stephen Sondheim, and Gossip Girl; and the care with which its three core characters face their losses and departures. I loved them—and more importantly, Burke does too. You’ll feel it." -Jeanne Thornton, author of Summer Fun

"A stunning elegy to all the lives we cannot live and a celebration of becoming yourself. Katherine Packert Burke vividly captures the nuance, heartbreak, and wonder of traveling your one path—the torture of what ifs, the deep bodily pleasure of community, and the ongoing adventure of self-knowledge. Throughout?Still Life,?I felt so close to Edith, and I’ll be thinking of her for a long, long time." -Alyssa Songsiridej, author of Little Rabbit

"Still Life is vibrantly, brilliantly alive—by turns steely and delicate, wintry and warm, tart and bittersweet, elegiac and joyous. Just like the music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim (this novel’s...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781324076360
PRICE US$28.99 (USD)
PAGES 304

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Average rating from 13 members


Featured Reviews

I absolutely loved this. Super happy to see trans women in this new ‘sad women in their 20s’ trend. beautiful writing and i absolutely love when protagonists are writers and it gets meta. incredible and i absolutely recommend to everyone

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