An iconic writer’s lapidary memoir of a life spent pursuing a dream of artistic truth while evading the truth of her own gender identity, until, finally, she turned to face who she really was
For a long time, Lucy Sante felt unsure of her place. Born in Belgium, the only child of conservative working-class Catholic parents who transplanted their little family to the United States, she felt at home only when she moved to New York City in the early 1970s and found her people among a band of fellow bohemians. Some would die young, to drugs and AIDS, and some would become jarringly famous. Sante flirted with both fates, on her way to building an estimable career as a writer. But she still felt like her life a performance. She was presenting a façade, even to herself.
Sante’s memoir braids together two threads of personal narrative: the arc of her life, and her recent step-by-step transition to a place of inner and outer alignment. Sante brings a loving irony to her account of her unsteady first steps; there was much she found she still needed to learn about being a woman after some sixty years cloaked in a man’s identity, in a man’s world. A marvel of grace and empathy, I Heard Her Call My Name parses with great sensitivity many issues that touch our lives deeply, of gender identity and far beyond.