[image: ten book covers arranged in two rows. a turquoise banner in
the center bears the text: “epic reads: queer books > 400 pages”]
Recently, I wrote about queer novels under two hundred pages - those satisfying short reads that you might be able to finish in an afternoon or two. Today, I bring you a list of looong queer books which provide an entirely different kind of satisfaction.
Lengthier narratives allow writers to carefully construct a tapestry of details, to spin a web of complex characters, and to create a rich sense of a time and place. Lingering over a long novel can give you the opportunity to immerse yourself, to explore broadly or to dive deep, and to build a relationship with a character or a world.
Here are ten queer novels over 400 pages:
- She Rises by Kate Worsley
(432 pages): In this historical novel, romance and the open ocean
beckon two protagonists towards the unknown. A young maid named Louise
finds herself falling for her upper-class mistress while a young man
named Luke tries to survive a new life aboard a warship and make his way
back to his lost love.
- Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany (801 pages): By far the longest on this list, some editions of Delany’s seminal 1970s spec-fic epic stretch over 900 pages.
Within these dense pages, a protagonist who cannot remember his own
name wanders through the landscape of Bellona, an isolated city in the
center of the United States, where he has a series of unsettling and
- The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (639
pages): This Pulitzer Prize winner set in New York during the pre-WWII
“Golden Age” of comics stars two Jewish teenagers who together create a
hero called The Escapist. But like their real-life counterparts of the
era, their ideas are exploited, and the runaway success of their
character can’t offer relief from their personal struggles.
- At Swim Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill
(562 pages): Another thick historical novel - this one set in Ireland
in 1915, the year preceding the Easter Uprising. Doyler Doyle, a tough
and outspoken son of a soldier, promises to teach Jim Mack, a shy
intellectual, how to swim. As their relationship deepens, they find
themselves swept into the revolution and rocked by the tides of history.
- Valmiki’s Daughter by Shani Mootoo
(408 pages): Rich with sensory details that place the reader in
Trinidad, this novel tells the story of a wealthy but troubled family.
Valmiki and his eldest daughter Viveka, both stifled by heteronormative
expectations, must decide to conform or struggle towards an authentic
- Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
(582 pages): A con man called The Gentleman arrives at a household of
petty thieves - fingersmiths - to offer an orphan named Sue the chance
to make a fortune by inserting herself into the life of a noblewoman. In
the pages of this tome, Waters weaves a Dickensian tale of intrigue,
seduction, and deception.
- The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth
(470 pages): This mature and captivating young adult novel follows the
life of a small-town girl named Cameron Post. Cam is shocked to feel
relief when her parents die in a car accident - because at least they’ll
never know she kissed a girl. Instead, she must contend with her
conservative aunt and God’s Promise, a camp that intends to “fix” her.
- Hild by Nicola Griffith
(560 pages): The king’s niece has an intelligence and intuition that
borders on supernatural. With war and conflict looming, Hild takes on
the role of a seer and becomes a valuable adviser to the crown. Drawing
from the life of the real St. Hild of Whitby, Griffith evokes the
seventh century world that Hild must navigate as well as her burgeoning
- The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson
(416 pages): An African goddess connects the stories of Mer, a slave in
Jeanne, a biracial artist in Paris, and Thais, a prostitute in Egypt.
History, sex, magic, and the divine spill from the pages of Nalo
Hopkinson’s immersive novel about these women of different eras who all
- Hero by Perry Moore (428 pages): Thom Creed is keeping two big secrets: One is that he’s gay. The other is that he has superpowers. Superhero stories often serve as metaphors for feeling like a misfit, but this young adult novel explores the stress of growing up without being able to be yourself through both the explicit pain of homophobia and the lens of capes and masks.
Prefer short reads? Check out these queer books under 200 pages!