Somewhere Else by Jan Guenther Braun

I just finished reading Jan Guenther Braun’s 2008 novel Somewhere Else. Although the prose is a bit uneven in the first half of the book, reading it was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had with literature. I felt physically uneasy while reading most of the book, which speaks to just how much it affected me (a good thing). I am still at a point where I am recovering from the reading experience, and thus don’t have much to say about the novel here other than that I strongly recommend it. It’s about a Mennonite teenager from Saskatchewan who leaves home because her family rejects her for being a lesbian and tries to find herself sexually and spiritually. I first got into Mennonite literature because it gave me narratives that helped me to understand myself and helped me realize that I needed to leave the Church rather than forcing myself to conform to its various oppressions, and after a long period of not reading Mennonite literature it is again reflecting myself back at me via the narratives of other queer Mennos.

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