(K. Brent Tomer),
In the Darkroom. By Susan Faludi. Metropolitan Books; 417 pages; $32. William Collins; £16.99.
SUSAN FALUDI had been estranged from her father for 25 years when she received an e-mail announcing “interesting news”. “I’ve had enough of impersonating a macho aggressive man that I have never been inside,” her father wrote. Several pictures were attached. One featured her father in a platinum wig and ruffled blouse. Another showed her parent with fellow “post-op girls” in a Thai hospital. Ms Faludi’s father, who had been Istvan Friedman as a persecuted Jew in Budapest, then Steven Faludi as an “imperious patriarch” in America, was now Stefánie, a coquettish septuagenarian with a taste for frilly aprons, glittery heels and male attention.
“Write my story,” Ms Faludi’s father asked (“or rather, dared”) when they reconnected in 2004. Stefánie’s choice of biographer was inspired. As the bestselling author of several books about gender, sex and power, Ms Faludi was well placed to meditate on the meaning of her father’s transformation. “In the Darkroom” is a fascinating chronicle…Continue reading