First Fiction Friday: Catch and Release

In this week’s edition of First Fiction Friday, discover Liana Cusmano’s debut novel Catch and Release (Guernica Editions) – a queer coming of age story in where the past and present intertwine with the protagonist’s own warped perceptions.


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 Book: Catch and Release (Guernica Editions)
Why you need to read this now:Catch & Releaseis not a straightforward and clichéd coming out story, but a queer coming of age story told in recursive and non-linear fashion, where the past and present intertwine with the protagonist’s own warped perceptions. Lucca’s obsessions, racing thoughts and anxieties are rendered in detail, and her story isn’t based on her act of coming out but on how her sexual orientation is linked to the rest of her life. The way she manages, or fails to manage, her depression and anxiety will speak to any reader who is tired of chronicles about mental health that are simpering and contrived. An unrequited infatuation is Lucca’s starting point for reflection on another unrequited infatuation, where the reader follows along as she unpacks all the ambiguity and transgressions that she hadn’t noticed before. When her experience with Angela Damon —her high school English teacher— and her relationship with Adèle converge, Lucca’s past and present collide, and the messiness of decisions overlaid with memories, within circumstances beyond her control, speak to how complicated and painful identity can be. Anyone who reads this book wanting to relate to a queer and mentally ill protagonist, and needing to feel seen and validated, will have those needs met.X plus Y:This book will remind readers of The Bell Jar + It’s Kind of a Funny Story 

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As a poet, spoken word artist and filmmaker, Liana Cusmano (Luca/BiCurious George) explores heritage, queerness and mental health. Liana has presented their work in English, French and Italian in North America, Europe and Asia. They wrote and directed the film Matters of Great Unimportance (2019).