Voice of the Fish
Lars Horn

‘This book left me stunned. Breathtaking in its scope and generosity, Voice of the Fish is that rare work that defies easy categorization. At once a personal memoir and an examination of ancient worlds and marine life, Voice of the Fish also becomes a luminous and compassionate reckoning with borders and boundaries. And all of this written in achingly beautiful prose that catches the light in even the darkest of moments. We are in the midst of a rare and transcendent talent, and how lucky we are that Lars Horn exists.’ – Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King

‘Ocean-deep and brimming with beauty, Voice of the Fish is a wondrous book, formed with the expansiveness and strong currents of a vast body of water. I didn’t want to leave until I’d seen every glowing image.’ – Elissa Washuta, author of White Magic

Voice of the Fish is a mighty and innovative work… adventurous, bold, anti-authoritarian, and physical, we would all be well served to take note of this generation of new writers to which Horn belongs, sending us missives from the future of language and storytelling – more exacting, broad and excellent than we have yet imagined.’ – Casey Legler, author of Godspeed: A Memoir

‘Voice of the Fish is a dazzling assemblage… a unique dive into history, philosophy, memory, and wonder. It is a voice that swims bravely against the current, finds its origin, and emerges with sequined scales of sparkling language, brilliant in its inked imaginative form.’ – Jenny Boully, author of Betwixt-and-Between

Lars Horn’s Voice of the Fish, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, is a kaleidoscopic, hallucinatory memoir that explores the trans experience through meditations upon aquatic life and mythology, set against the backdrop of travels in Russia and a debilitating injury that left Horn temporarily unable to speak, read and write. In their adept hands, these poignant, allusive shards take shape as a unified whole: short vignettes about fish, reliquaries and antiquities serve as interludes between – and subtle reflections upon – longer memories of their life, knitting together a sinuous, wave-like form that flows across the book.

Horn swims through a range of subjects; across marine history, theology, questions of the body and gender, sexuality, transmasculinity and illness. From their childhood modelling for their mother’s art installations – immersed in a bath with dead squid; encased in a full-body plaster cast – to their travels before they were out as trans, these beguiling fragments are linked by a desire to interrogate the physical, and to identify the current beneath. Horn re-examines presumptions about the unchanging nature of the body, privileging instead ways of seeing and being that resist binaries, ways that falter, fracture, mutate. Sensuous and immersive, Voice of the Fish is unique: a masterful and moving achievement.

About the author

Lars Horn is a writer and translator working in literary and experimental non-fiction. Their first book, Voice of the Fish, won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize and was an American Booksellers Association Indies Introduce Selection. The recipient of the Tin House Without Borders Residency and a Sewanee Writers’ Conference scholarship, Horn’s writing has appeared in The RumpusLiterary HubGranta, the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Kenyon Review, and elsewhere.

Initially specialising in Phenomenology and Visual Arts scholarship, they hold MAs from the University of Edinburgh, the École normale supérieure, Paris, and Concordia University, Montreal. They split their time between Miami, Colorado, and the UK with their wife, the writer Jaquira Díaz.