LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION 2023
‘Incendiary . . . A uniquely trans story’ Dazed
‘Gutting and glittery’ Nylon
‘Eliot Duncan’s melancholic transboy swagger sparkles . . . An astonishing first novel’ ANDREA LAWLOR
In the first of three acts, Ponyboy‘s titular narrator – a pill-popping, speed-snorting, trans-masculine lightning bolt – unravels in his Paris apartment. Ponyboy is caught in a messy love triangle between Baby, a lesbian painter who can’t see herself being with someone trans, and Toni, a childhood friend who can actually see Ponyboy for who he is.
Strung out, Ponyboy follows Baby to Berlin where he sinks deeper into drugs and falls for Gabriel, all the while pursued by a megalomaniacal photographer hungry for the next hot thing. As his relationships crumble, Ponyboy unexpectedly wakes up alone in Iowa, his childhood home. Now Ponyboy must finally choose a name.
An evocative novel of art and addiction, self-destruction and re-construction, Ponyboy thrums with the joys, aches and pains of becoming who you are meant to be.
‘Eliot Duncan’s melancholic transboy swagger sparkles in this classic story of a dissolute bookish Midwesterner who crashes through Europe, falling in and out of love and stargazing from the gutter. An astonishing first novel‘ – Andrea Lawlor, author of PAUL TAKES THE FORM OF A MORTAL GIRL
‘[Ponyboy] moves breathlessly through space and time…Through a deft command of language, Duncan is able to create a uniquely trans story that fights for the right to be seen’ – Dazed
‘[A] gutting and glittery three-act coming of age story…The final act takes Ponyboy to rehab, where he unravels his identity, addiction, and recovery – leading his splintered parts to become all that much more himself’ – Nylon
‘Ponyboy is a novel about self-immolation and rising from your own ashes with a spent match between your teeth. It’s also one of the best books I’ve read about expat dirtbaggery, and it ferociously portrays the velvety allure of oblivion and the terror, eroticism, and bright urgency of coming home to yourself’ – Rebecca Rukeyser, author of THE SEAPLANE ON FINAL DESCENT
‘Ponyboy reads like one of those unforgettable nights in your twenties. Duncan captures the optimism that accompanies the allure of Paris, the high of substances, and the sense that anything can happen when the sun falls. Read this book to remember that, no matter how bad the hangover will be, the best is yet to come‘ – Elias Rodriques, author of ALL THE WATER I’VE EVER SEEN IS RUNNING
‘A vivid portrayal of the lure of self-abandonment. Eliot Duncan shows us what is found in pursuit of it – and what is left in its wake’ – Hil Malatino, author of SIDE AFFECTS: ON BEING TRANS AND FEELING BAD
Eliot Duncan is a writer and artist living in London. He is the co-creator of the international, queer collective Slanted House. He studied philosophy at the American University of Paris and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.