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In the Defense of Liberty

by (author) Keith Maillard

Freehand Books
Initial publish date
May 2023
Transgender, Historical, Coming of Age
LGBTQ2S characters , Author lives in British Columbia

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Accessibility summary:
This Publication meets the requirements of the EPUB Accessibility specification with conformance to WCAG 2.0 Level AA. This book contains various accessibility features such as alternative text for images, page-list, landmark, reading order and structural navigation. Additionally, blank pages have been removed from the ebook while their page break labels have been left in, for reasons of structural flow.

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  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price

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Set on a US college campus in 1964, In the Defense of Liberty is a powerful, fast-paced novel exploring gender nonconformity and the reach of history.

It's 1964, and the students at Merida University in Ohio can sense that something is brewing -- the campus is rippling with undercurrents of anger and alienation. As they work to make sense of the rapidly shifting cultural and ideological climate, the four main characters of In the Defense of Liberty are also consumed by their own personal dramas.

There's Mason, a history student growing his hair long and struggling to find anywhere he belongs. There's Lorianne, a young wife who left a promising career in academia when she got pregnant. There's Henry, Lorianne's husband, who is working year after year on his thesis, with no end in sight. And there's Jessie, a TA who has always been a bit of an enigma. Over one turbulent summer, the intense connections between these four characters take a number of thrilling twists and turns, with each relationship taken to its breaking point.

In this fascinating and fast-paced novel, Keith Maillard expertly captures the ethos of the mid-1960s and explores threads of gender and sexuality, while holding up a mirror to the roots of modern-day American polarization.

About the author

Keith Maillard is the author of fourteen novels, including Two Strand River, Gloria, The Clarinet Polka, Difficulty at the Beginning, and most recently Twin Studies. He has won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Literary Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Awards. Keith was born and raised in West Virginia, and now lives in Vancouver. He has been a musician, a contributor for CBC Radio, a freelance photographer, and a journalist. He teaches at the University of British Columbia.

Keith Maillard's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"A sleepy campus in Ohio. Summer of '64. Mingus, the Beatles, Nightwood, the fever dream of Goldwater, late night student conversations--all in the sights of gun culture. Unforgettable characters navigate acceptance, intimacy, and regenesis. In the Defense of Liberty captures an in-real-time state of being for trans and gender-curious folks (and all of us who love them). It is brave. And it is breathtaking."

Linda Svendsen

"Fast-paced and intimate, personal and political, queer and beautiful—just like the gorgeously drawn ensemble cast, truth and memory must sweat it out under the relentless Ohio sun. The kind of storytelling that pushes the boundaries of what a historical novel can be and leaves you wondering what history itself is."

Carrie Jenkins