People Collide

People Collide
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Literary Fiction
Tag: Audiobooks
Publisher: Harpervia
Publication Year: 2023
ISBN: 9780063283756

Another experimental book about marriage, identity, and culture, this book follows Eli after he wakes up in the body of his wife, Elizabeth. Elizabeth has disappeared, and Eli embarks on a search for her across Europe and the U.S., while experiencing life in the body of a woman (and she in the body of a man).

This is a fascinating exploration of the body-swapping trope. Not only do they each experience the life, privileges, and challenges of each other’s gender, but they also realize that the swap enables them to shift their entire identities and expectations for their own lives. Past hangups can be left behind; it’s the ultimate new beginning, and they each deal with it in their own ways. And of course, they must decide if they can move forward in their relationship, with each of them in the body of the other.

This did have some shortcomings. The question of why the body swap happened was never really addressed, and the way both characters seemed to accept it so quickly kept nagging at me. Those things aren’t the point of the book, and other readers were more easily able to suspend their disbelief, but they did bother me.

About the Book

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Publisher’s Description

From the acclaimed author of The Atmospherians, a gender-bending, body-switching novel that explores marriage, identity, and sex, and raises profound questions about the nature of true partnership.

When Eli leaves the cramped Bulgarian apartment he shares with Elizabeth, his more organized and successful wife, he discovers that he now inhabits her body. Not only have he and his wife traded bodies but Elizabeth, living as Eli, has disappeared without a trace. What follows is Eli’s search across Europe to America for his missing wife–and a roving, no-holds-barred exploration of gender and embodied experience.

As Eli comes closer to finding Elizabeth–while learning to exist in her body–he begins to wonder what effect this metamorphosis will have on their relationship and how long he can maintain the illusion of living as someone he isn’t. Will their new marriage wither completely in each other’s bodies? Or is this transformation the very thing Eli and Elizabeth need for their marriage to thrive?

A rich, rewarding exploration of ambition and sacrifice, desire and loss, People Collide is a portrait of shared lives that shines a refreshing light on everything we thought we knew about love, sexuality, and the truth of who we are.

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