Fiction Bibliography

Bisexual Stories: An Annotated Bi-Bliography

All of the books listed below deal in some way with bisexual identity and/or behavior, though few of the narrators or characters in the books listed below use the word “bisexual.” Rather, each book has at least one character whose life history can be interpreted to be bisexual. All books listed below are in English, except as noted. Those interested in a comprehensive bibliography of nonfiction books on bisexuality can visit BiSources, Dr. Ronald J. Fox’s site. These two bibliographies are intended to compliment one another. A shorter version of Dr. Fox’s nonfiction bibliography can be found in the “Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World” anthology. This list is, of course, a work in progress. What books would you like to see added to this list? Please send me your suggestions

Codes:

  • ♂ primarily about men
  • ♀: primarily about women
  • ♀♂: about both men and women
  • T: includes transgender voices

Anthologies 

  • Bisexual Anthology Collective, ed., Plural Desires: Writing Bisexual Women’s Realities (1995). ♂
  • Donald Hall and Maria Pramaggiori, eds., RePresenting Bisexualities: Subjects and Cultures of Fluid Desire (1996). ♀,♂
  • Loraine Hutchins and Lani Ka’ahhumanu, eds., Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out.(1991). 77 bisexuals speak about psychology, spirituality, community and politics. ♀,♂
  • Debra R. Kolodny, ed., Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith (2000). ♀,♂, T
  • Robyn Ochs & Sarah Rowley, eds., Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World (2nd edition, 2009). A 42-country anthology with short writing and poetry. Includes a resource section in the back of the book. ♀,♂, T
  • Sharon Rose, Cris Stevens, et al, ed., Bisexual Horizons: Politics, Histories, Lives (1988) ♀,♂
  • Naomi Tucker,with Liz Highleyman & Rebecca Kaplan, eds., Bisexual Politics: Theories, Queries, & Visions (1995). About bi movements, identity politics, communities. ♀,♂
  • Elizabeth Reba Weise, ed., Closer to Home: Bisexuality & Feminism (1992). ♀,♂
  • Kata Orndoff, ed., Bi Lives: Bisexual Women Tell Their Stories (1999). ♀

Biographies, Autobiographies, and Memoirs


Elizabeth J. Andrew, Swinging on the Garden Gate: A Spiritual Memoir (2000). The author’s account of her own spiritual journey and of coming to terms with her bisexual identity. ♀

Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), Before Night Falls (1993). Chronicle of his life, from his birth in Cuba (1943), to his death in New York (1990). Arenas, a gay man, provides a fascinating — and disturbing — account of male (gay? bisexual?) behavior in Cuba. ♂

Louis W. Banner, Intertwined Lives: Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and their Circle (2003). Anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978) was an advocate for bisexuality, and she and Ruth Benedict (1887-1948) were both sexually and intellectually intertwined. ♀

James Broughton (1913-1999), Coming Unbuttoned (1993). Born in 1913, poet and independent filmmaker Broughton does not delve into the meaning of his bisexual identity, but he (and many others in his story) clearly identify as such. Over the course of his life, Broughton had relationships with men and women. ♂

John Cheever (1912-1982), The Journals of John Cheever (1990). Includes discussion of the writer’s bisexuality and extramarital relationships. (None of Cheever’s fictional writings discuss bisexuality.) ♂

Cyril Collard (1957-1993), Savage Nights (1993) (originally Les Nuits Fauves). French writer, film director, actor and self-identified bisexual writes of his HIV diagnosis and subsequent relationships with a 17-year-old woman and two young men. Set in Paris, this disturbing and powerful story includes discussions of unprotected sex, anonymous s/m sex, and the author’s view of how male and female partners differ. The author self-identifies as bisexual. ♂

Samuel R. Delaney, The Motion of Light in Water (1988). Fascinating autobiography of the science fiction writer’s teens and twenties in New York City, 1957-1965. While Samuel Delaney currently identifies as gay, his history and his former identification are bisexual. ♂

Erica Fischer, Aimée and Jaguar: A Love Story, Berlin 1943 (translated from the German) (1995). In World War II Germany, Elisabeth Wust, a married Christian mother of four, falls in love with Felice Schragenheim, a Jew living underground. Though sexual orientation identity is never discussed, Elisabeth could be “read’ as bisexual (though only she knows for sure). A true story, told by Wust 50 years after the fact. ♀

Eve Ensler, Insecure at Last: LOSING IT in Our Security Obsessed World. Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, self-identifies twice in this book as bisexual. ♀

Barbara Guest, Herself Defined: The Poet H.D. and Her World (1984). Biography of American expatriate writer H.D (1886-1961). Thorough and respectful representation of her significant romantic relationships, which included both women and men. ♀, ♂

Meredith Maran, What’s It Like to Live Now (1995). Notes from an Incomplete Revolution: Real Life Since Feminism. Bantam Books, 1997. Autobiographical writing by bi-identified mother of two sons in a long-term same sex relationship. She’s an ex-hippie of the 60s generation living in Oakland California, a dedicated activist struggling to figure out how to live ethically in today’s world. Highly recommended. ♀

Kate Millett, Flying (1974) and Sita (1976). Autobiographical novels by a self-identified bi and a leader of the modern women’s movement. ♀

Anchee Min, Red Azalea (1994). Fascinating autobiography of a woman growing up in Maoist China. The woman Min loves in her youth, and perhaps Min herself, are bisexual. ♀

Anaïs Nin (1909-1977), Henry and June. (1986). Nin’s diary from 1931-1932, in which she recounts her relationships with her husband, Hugo, and with Henry and June Miller. Beautiful writing, much discussion about her relationships and their meaning to her. ♀

Nigel Nicolson (1917-2004), Portrait of a Marriage (1973). Biography of Vita Sackville-West & Harold Nicolson by their son. Born late 19th century, Vita was a self-identi­fied bi wom­an of the British upper class in love with Violet Trefusis. ♀,♂

Michelle Kort, Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro (2002). Biography of Laura Nyro (1947-1997), one of my musical sheroes. While Nyro resisted (any) sexual orientation labels, her story is clearly one of a fluid sexual orientation.

Nuala O’Faolain, Almost There: The Onward Journey of A Dublin Woman (2003). Self-identified bisexual O’Faoilain has had several relationships over her life; including 15 years with one woman, and several different men. This is a story of pain and of healing.

Susan Parker, Walking in the deep end: a memoir (2010). A tale of mental illness, family dysfunction, eating disorder, all embedded in the context of her upbringing and subsequent involvement in a variety of Christian faiths, and all of the help and harm they offered. Her story is, over time, a bisexual story. Not sure if she identifies as bi: she does not use the words “lesbian” or bisexual” to refer to herself, though she does eventually “identify with the LGBT community.”

Carol Queen, Real live nude girl: Chronicles of sex-positive culture (1997). Autobiographical essays by a leading bi-identified exponent and proponent of sexual diversity and sex-positivity. ♀,♂

Wallace P. Rusterholtz, My not-so-gay life (1996). Rusterholtz, born in 1909, discusses his experiences as a bisexual man, his World War II service in Iran, memories of the Chicago Unitarian church, and opinions on current political and religious issues. ♂

Audrey Beth Stein, Map. Memoir about coming of age in the ’90s. One thing that makes this book stand out is that Audrey’s identity journey is largely interior. ♀

Hannah Tillich, From Time to Time (1974). Tillich (1896-1988) chronicles her childhood in Germany, including love affairs with other girls, her first marriage, her second — open and enduring — marriage to theologian Paul Tillich, their move during the rise of Naziism to the United States, and subsequent life. ♀

Blanche Weisen, Eleanor Roosevelt (2 volumes) (1992). Includes substantial discussion of her intimate relationships. ♀

In German:

Irmela v.d. Lühe, Erika Mann:Eine Biografie (luhe irmela von der 1947/ 1993). Life of a woman with contradictions and ruptures in life who did not keep her same and other sex relationships secret yet when editing her father’s letters she erased homoerotic hints.Reads like a novel. ♂

General Fiction


(This list is far from exhaustive.)

Swan Adamson, My Three Husbands. (2003). Directionless 25-year-old protagonist has two gay dads, works in a porn store, and is about to marry her third husband, whose past—like hers—includes men as well as women. A fun read. ♀,♂

J. R. Ackerley, We Think the World of You (1896-1967). (1989). First published in 1960, a British novel about Frank, a middle-aged homosexual man’s obsession and longstanding relationship with Johnny, a young working-class married man. Johnny is arrested for theft, and subsequently convicted, and Frank’s economic and emotional entanglement with Johnny, his family and dog unfold. A beautifully written psychological novel. ♂

Lisa Alther, Five Minutes in Heaven (1995). Three of the four main characters could all be classified more or less Kinsey-5s, and the fourth is — who knows, but much as she’d like to be, she is not a Kinsey zero. ♀,♂ Bedrock (1990). ♀ 2 married women, best friends, & their love for each other. ♀ Other Women(1984). A woman with a bi history comes to terms, through therapy, with herself & her love for women. ♀Original Sins (1982). Story of 5 people growing up in Tennessee, including two with bisexual experiences. ♀,♂ Kinflicks (1976). Woman with bi history struggles to understand herself and her relationship with her mother. ♀

Julia Alvarez, In the Name of Salomé (2000). Complex, historical novel set in the Americas (Dominican Republic, Cuba, USA). This is a story where love is enduring, and very specific. Salomė Camila, the daughter (1894-1973), attempts three relationships over the course of her life. Two are brief and ultimately unsuccessful, with men. The important and most enduring one is with Marion, a woman. Marion, in her later years, marries a man. I would consider both Marion and Salomė Camila bisexual women, high-scorers on the Kinsey Scale. ♀

Carol Anshaw, Aquamarine (1992). Interesting and thought-provoking novel which takes the life of a competitor in the 1968 Olympics and projects 20 years into her future. Three different possible futures are presented, each based on the reverberations of choices made shortly after the Olympics. In each of her equally possible futures, she has married or remained single, loved women or men, become a parent or not, stayed in her Missouri hometown or moved to New York City. ♀ Seven Moves. Mariner Books Houghton Mifflin), 1996. A lesbian therapist’s lover disappears. One of her best friends (a minor character) is a woman married to a man who is also seeing another woman. ♀

de la Peña, Terri, Latin Satins (1994). Four young Latina women in a singing group in Santa Monica, California. Three are clearly lesbians, the fourth, Rita, has daughter, a male ex, and the major hots for another woman in her band. This book, though not the most gripping fiction ever, offers an interesting and revealing look into a historical moment. ♀

Diane Ayres, Other Girls (2002). Elizabeth is at a women’s college in the mid 1970s. She falls in love with a fellow student, but for quite some time is also quite attached to her heterosexual identity/image. Her friends see her as bisexual, though she herself does not say how/whether she identifies. Among all the book’s characters (of all sexual orientations) there are complicated relationships, both serious and casual. Other themes: domestic violence, mental illness, being a survivor of incest and sexual abuse. ♀

James Baldwin (1924-1987), Another Country (1985). From 1960, about race, sexuality & friendship between men. Giovanni’s Room (1988, 1956). Two male expatriates in France, one from the US, one Italian, fall in love. One is engaged to be married to a woman. Beautifully written, lots of internal struggle and self-hatred. Tell Me How Long The Train’s Been Gone (1968). About an African American man who becomes an actor. Probably the most clearly bisexual of all of Baldwin’s characters. ♂

Ann Bannon, Odd Girl Out. (1983, 1957) and Beebo Brinker (1986, 1962). Two in a series of five novels published in the late 50s and early 60s, these are fascinating representations of gay and bisexual life in that time period. Odd Girl Out is the story of two young college women who have a relationship until one leaves the other for a man. Beebo Brinker is the story of a lesbian in NY’s Village scene. Several of the characters in the book could be characterized as bisexual. But beware: none of these characters are overly loveable. ♀

Pat Barker, The Eye in the Door (1993). Set in England during World War I, psychological novel about Billy Prior, an intelligence agent who is bisexual, as is one other male character. The Ghost Road. More about Billy Prior. Both of these books are excellent reads. ♂

Peggy Ullman Bell, Psappha: A Novel of Sappho (2000). Fictionalized account of the life of Sappho, Greek poet from the seventh century B.C. whose love for men and for women is documented. ♀

Judy Blume, Summer Sisters (1998). Beginning in 1977, the friendship and coming of age of two girls. Teenage same-sex experimentation, and later heterosexual relationships. ♀

Blanche McCrary Boyd, Terminal Velocity (1997). It’s 1970, and Ellen, a Southern-raised book editor, leaves her husband for a radical lesbian commune full of processing and drugs. Her story is, indisputably, a bisexual one. An interesting, if disturbing look at a moment of U.S. history. ♀

Christopher Bram, Almost History (1993). Fascinating historical novel about a gay American diplomat who spends much of his career in the Marcos-controlled Phillipines. Beginning in the 1950s and moving forward in time to just beyond the fall of the Marcos regime, many of the secondary male characters are bisexual in identity and/or behavior. ♂ Lives of the Circus Animals (1993). NYC’s theater scene. Theater troup member Allegra falls for a woman, much to the distress of her boyfriend. ♀ Exiles in America(2006). At a small US college, heterosexually-married Iraqi artist-in-residence has relationship with heterosexually-married American professor.

Joyce Bright, Sunday’s Child (1988). A California feminist movement saga. Two women, Kate and Angie, both runners, fall in love and leave relationships to be with each other. One, is—at the book’s beginning—straight-identified and with a man, but she’s not enough in love with him. The other is with a woman who is married to a man. Both could be called bisexual. ♀

Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle (1973). Most of the characters behave bisexually. About sexual­ity & growing up poor. ♀ Six of One (1978). Set in a small southern town & spanning 1909-1980, the book has two bi women: the narrator and Ramelle. ♀ Southern Discomfort (1982). Set in Alabama,in the early 20th century, two secondary characters, Grace and Payson, are bisexual. ♀ Venus Envy (1993). Set in present day Virginia, about a woman’s relationships with family and friends. ♀,♂

Sylvia Brownrigg, Pages for You (2001). First year college student falls in love with a female bisexual graduate student. ♀

Truman Capote (1924-1984), Answered Prayers (1987). Bi hustler makes his way through the upper crust of US, and US ex-pat society. This unfinished novel by Capote apparently lost him most of his friends, as he does mention names, and even those whose names are not explicitly mentioned are at times thinly disguised. ♂

Jackie Calhoun, Lifestyles (1990). Can be read as a bisexual or lesbian coming out story. A woman who has been left by her husband of many years meets and falls in love with another woman. ♀

Michael Chabon, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988). Coming of age story. Recently graduate Art Bechstein, son of a gangster, struggles with his sexual orientation as he finds himself attracted to two people, one male, one female. ♂

Aiden Chambers, Postcards from No Man’s Land (1999). 17-year old Jacob travels from the US to Amsterdam to visit his grandfather’s grave and meet the family who hid and cared for him. Daan, his host, and possibly Jacob himself are bisexual. ♂

Susan Taylor Chehak, Dancing on Glass (1993). Man goes back to the town of his childhood to resurrect his family name. Falls in love with a woman whose family is historically interwoven with his, marries her, but then becomes obsessed with a teenaged boy. Kind of soap-operatic. ♂

Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers (1966). Yes, that Leonard Cohen. The songwriter. Poetic, erotic and disturbing novel set in Montreal. Both of the male characters are bisexual. ♂

Nicole Conn, Claire of the Moon (1993). A (formerly) straight woman discovers love with a lesbian therapist (no, not hers) at a writers retreat. ♀

T Cooper, Some of The Parts (2002). Four interconnected people, three biologically related, trying to figure out what to do next: a young woman who has had boyfriends and girlfriends (though she never identifies herself); her mother; her HIV positive gay uncle; and his friend Isak, a gender-transgressing person. ♀

Alan Cumming, Tommy’s Tale. (2002). 29-year-old hedonistic self-identified and behaviorally bi guy in London. Drugs, sex, lack of direction, fear of commitment. ♂

Michael Cunningham, By Nightfall (2002). Peter Harris is an art dealer who finds himself, at midlife, facing various existential questions including, much to his surprise, the awareness that he is attracted to his wife’s bisexual and troubled younger brother. An exploration of Peter’s interior self, presented without judgment. ♂ The Hours (1998). One day in the lives of three women: Virginia Woolf in 1923, Laura Brown in the 1950s, and Clarissa Vaughan in the 1990s, somehow intertwined, and poetically written. Both Clarissa and Richard, her former lover and lifelong friend, have loved a man and a woman. The “b’word is not used, but it is clear that the characters honor both of their lifetime loves. ♀, ♂. A Home at the End of the World. Picador, 1990. At least two of the three main characters could be characterized as bisexual. ♀, ♂

Stacy D’Erasmo, Tea (2000). Isabel, whose mother has taken her own life, is in a Philadelphia high school, looking for connection. She finds a community theater group whose charismatic leader is clearly described as bisexual and, considers this identity for herself (for a while or for good?). Not a major theme, but bisexuality is clearly and explicitly present here. ♀, ♂

Emma Donohue, Stir Fry (1994). In Dublin, a 17-year-old woman begins university, discovers her two new women roommates are a couple. One self-identifies as bi. Hood. NY: Harper Collins, 1996. A lesbian in Ireland is partnered with a woman who has has a history with both men and women. Touchy Subjects (2006). Short stories. Bi content. Landing (2007). Irish lesbian flight attendant falls in love with bisexual Canadian woman. Note: Emma Donohoe is a contributor to the Bisexual Horizons anthology. ♀

Joan Drury, Closed in Silence (1998). In this who-done-it, group of college friends, lesbian feminist activists in the early 70s, reunite on an island in the Northwest. Five of the women are still lesbian-identified, the sixth is now (after her 7-year relationship to one of the women at the reunion, married to a man. Written from the point of view of her ex-lover, we get a view of how she is seen by others. The word bisexual is not used, but by the end of the novel both her former and current relationships are given “credit’ for mattering. ♀

Larry Duplechan, Eight Days A Week (1985). Johnny Ray Rousseau, a 22-year-old African-American nightclub singer by night, legal secretary by day in pre-AIDS Los Angeles, meets and falls for a blond bisexual banker who is portrayed as somewhat of a jerk—not because he is bisexual, but because he is possessive. Explicit sexuality and lots of musical references. ♂

Andrea Dworkin (1946-2005), Mercy (1990). Unsettling story. A girl grows up and is abused by one man after another. Narrator also has sexual relationships with women. Well-written, upsetting, graphic violence. ♀

Adrienne Eisen, Making Scenes (2002). 20-something woman obsessed with sex, food, literature and volleyball. She goes from boyfriend to boyfriend, afraid of being alone, and can’t quite figure out how to (or whether she really wants to) get involved with a woman. Dysfunction reigns. Entertaining. ♀

Brett Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction (1987). Depressing book about private college students who take lots of drugs, sleep with each other (while drunk or high), and never go to class. Most of the men sleep with lots of men and women; the women sleep with the men. ♂

Rupert Everett, Hello Darling, Are You Working? (1992). The British narrator, Rhys, is a bisexual actor, drug addict, and sometimes prostitute. ♂

Harvey Fierstein, Torch Song Trilogy (1983). (A play.) The protagonist’s lover/ex-lover Ed is a self-identified bisexual. He is also closeted and would prefer to be straight, but he makes makes progress through the play. Some focus on Arnold’s unwillingness to accept that Ed might actually be bisexual. ♂

E.M. Forster (1879-1970), Maurice (1971). A homosexual man is in love with another homosexual man who “goes straight.’ Is the latter bisexual? Historically. Is he denying his homosexual feelings? Probably. Are his heterosexual feelings “real’? Probably. Listed here mainly because it was written in 1913-1914, is beautifully written, and is one of the only early gay-themed novels that ends happily. ♂

Alan Garganus, Plays Well With Others (1997). A group of artistic friends in the NYC 1980s confront the AIDS epidemic. One of the two best friends is described by the narrator as bisexual. ♂

Nadine Gordimer, The House Gun (1998). Bisexual man shoots housemate in post-Apartheid South Africa. A trial follows. His bisexuality is even addressed as a psychological factor in his trial. ♂

Paul Goodman (1911-1972), Making Do (1963). Set in the very early 60s, several of the male characters are bisexual, none of the women. Disturbing look at a specific time and place in history, replete with racism, misogyny, and violence. Helps us understand the subsequent rise of feminism & lesbian separatism. ♂

Stephanie Grant, The Passion of Alice (1995). About a hospitalized anorexic woman in Massachusetts in the mid 1980s. Maeve, a bulimic woman on the same ward, and a major character in this book, is behaviorally bisexual, though there is no discussion of identity. ♀

Carol Guess, Seeing Dell (1995). Dell, a taxi driver, has died suddenly, leaving behind two lovers, one male, one female. Set in a small town in the midwestern United States, it’s refreshing to see a novel about working class people. Great read. ♀

Diana Hammond, The Impersonator (1992). A sexually compelling man lacks inner direction and gets through life by dissembling and attaching himselves to various lovers, one of whom is a man. Two male characters could be called bisexual. ♂

Joseph Hansen (1923-2004), Job’s Year (1983). About a primarily gay actor with other bi characters as well. ♀, ♂ A Smile in His Lifetime (1981). A married man deals with his homosexuality. ♂

E. Lynn Harris (1955-2009), Invisible Life (1991). Just As I Am (1994). A middle-class African American man struggles to deal with his bisexuality and coming out. Issues such as: relationships, being in the closet, dis/honesty, HIV, etc. And This Too Shall Pass (1996). A pro football player comes to identify as gay. A few of the other male characters in the book could be identified as bisexual, especially Basil, the closeted and dishonest man who appears in Harris’ earlier books. If This World Were Mine (1997); Abide With Me (1999); Not a Day Goes By (2000); Any Way the Wind Blows (2001); A Love of My Own(2002). The story continues. Raymond decides that women are not in his future. Basil decides men (or at least one in particular) are. And Trent… well he’s full of surprises too. ♂

Ellen Hart (1949-), A Small Sacrifice. Part of the Jane Lawless series. Jane helps her best friend Cordelia look into the mysterious death during a reunion of a group of six friends from college. Curt, now married to Annie, was lovers during his college years with Theo, and still has feelings for him. In this mixed-orientation group, Curt is clearly understood to be bisexual. And so, we find eventually, may have been one other member of the group. ♂

Jane Harvard, The Student Body (1998). Co-written by four Harvard classmates and told from the perspective of a student journalist, a story about corporate espionage and a prostitute ring specializing in Harvard students. Van, a male character, is clearly bisexual. Another behaves bisexually. ♂

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), The Garden of Eden (1986, 1961). His last work, about a male/female couple & a woman who enters their relationship. Transgender is­sues, jealousy, bisexuali­ty. Among his short stories is “The Sea Change,’ in which a woman tells her male beloved that she has fallen in love with a woman. ♀

Jeff Hobbs, The Tourists (2008). Post-Yale 20-somethings try to make a go of it in NYC. Several iterations of male bisexual behavior, absent bi identity.

Witi Imihaera, The Uncle’s Story (2000). Viewed through the eyes of Michael Mahana, a Maori NewZealander, a story of the love between his uncle and an American he met whilst they were soldiers in Vietnam. Sam’s story is clearly bisexual.

John Irving, In One Person (2012). A clearly and emphatically self-declared bisexual man grows up on the campus of a boarding school in Maine where his family works and eventually becomes a well-known writer. This book features a cast of unique characters including several transgendered (both transsexual and cross-dressing) individuals.  A Son of the Circus (1995). Set in Bombay and Toronto, a bizarre, sometimes brilliant and 682 page long narrative full of transvestites, hijras, homosexuals and even two bisexuals (one man and one woman, both unlikable white people from the US). ♀, ♂

Greg Johnson, Pagan Babies (1993). Since their days together in Catholic school, Janice and Clifford’s lives are intertwined. Janice is straight, and Clifford gay — well, except that he and Janice are boyfriend/girlfriend for years, with an active sexual relationship during some of that time. This novel is about growing up Catholic in the US, about AIDS, friendship, expectations and disappointments. ♂

Karen Kallmaker, Maybe Next Time (2003). Famous Hawaiian concert violinist in love with her best friend from childhood. Both women resist and sabotage this long-lasting atttraction. The best friend can easily be read as bisexual. ♀

James Kirkwood, P.S. Your Cat is Dead (1972). An underemployed NYC actor/writer catches the (bi) burglar who is in the process of robbing him (not for the first time), and ties him up in his kitchen. The actor’s recently deceased best friend and one other caracter, are also bisexual. Entertaining. ♂

Edith Konecky, A Place at the Table (1989). Middle aged Rachel is “a perfectly ordinary woman who some­times falls in love with other women.’ ♀

Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia (1990). In suburban Lon­don, the story of the bi son of an Indian father & English mother. ♀, ♂

D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930), The Fox (1923, 1951). Two women live together as a couple in rural England. Tensions arise with the arrival of a man who courts one of the women. No explicit bisexuality, but the two women are clearly, sexual or not, a couple. ♀

Jane Lazarre, The Powers of Charlotte (1987). A psychological novel about a woman from a Jewish Communist family. Bisexuality is not a central theme, but four characters have varying degrees of bisexual histories. ♀, ♂

Rosamond Lehman, Dusty Answer (1927). A young wealthy English woman’s search for love. Both the man and the woman with whom she falls in love are, ultimately, unattainable. Quite an amazing book, considering when it was written. I’m surprised it isn’t better known. ♀, ♂

Jennifer Levin, Water Dancer (1994). A marathon swimmer, training for a race, stays with her trainer and his wife. This book is about motivation, about relationships, about swimming, and has a bisexual character. ♀

Anna Livia, Bruised Fruit (1999). Quirky novel involving a bisexual woman, an intersexed person, a lesbian, and other assorted characters including a bisexual man. Patti, the bi woman, has a history of abuse that shapes and colors her current relationships and results in her murdering several of her male lovers when they do her wrong. But she and the lesbian end up together. ♀, ♂

Erika Lopez, Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All Girl Road Novel Thing (1997). Two 20-something Puerto Rican women from New Jersey take off across the US on newly acquired motorcycles. Tomato Rodriguez, the narrator, is trying to figure out whether she’s bisexual. Unique and highly entertaining. ♀They Call Me Mad Dog! A Story for Bitter, Lonely People (1998). Part novel, part comic book, strange and graphic continuation of the story of Tomato Rodriguez, a self-identified San Francisco-based bisexual artist who makes dildos, hires a bisexual hit man to get revenge on her ex-lover, and is then arrested and jailed for her murder. ♀, ♂

Daniel Magida, The Rules of Seduction (1992. Jack Newland is a wealthy New York socialite who has had relationships with both men and with women, as have some of his male friends. ♂

Meredith MaranA Theory of Small Earthquakes. A woman in the San Francisco Bay area 1980s-90s struggles with her deep love for another woman and her internalized homophobia and her desire for a “normal” life.

Jaye Maiman, I Left My Heart (1991). Robin Miller, romance novel writer and detective. Among the characters is Patty, a former lesbian now married to a man, and Carl, a straight man turned on by lesbians/bi women. Crazy for Loving (1992). Is the murdered man, David Ross, bisexual? Robin thinks he might be, and that this information might provide clues to his death. Both of these novels are entertaining. ♀, ♂

Dacia Maraini, Women at War (1988). (originally published in Italian as Donna in guerra. A working class schoolteacher and her mechanic husband vacation in the Bay of Naples. Previously passive and unpolitical, Vannina meets various people and begins to develop a feminist and political consciousness. This book has female and male bisexual characters. Letters to Marina (originally published in Italian in 1981 as Lettere a Marina) (1988). A feminist woman talks about her past and current experiences in the form of a series of letters to Marina, a woman who is her ex-lover. She, and some of her past and present lovers, love both men and women. This book was referred to me by the author as a book with bisexual characters, when I told her of this project. ♀

Carole Maso, The American Woman in the Chinese Hat (1994). Shortly after the her brother’s death from AIDS, a New York writer named Catherine leaves her woman lover of 12 years and comes to the French Riviera, where she comes apart, having a number of affairs, with men and women, in the process. ♀

Valerie Miner, Movement (1982). A decade in the life of a journalist who is married to a draft resister in the 60s & 70s. She, and one of her woman friends have bisexual experience/attractions. All Good Women (1987). Based in San Francisco during the second world, four women from diverse backgrounds meet at secretarial school and subsequently share a house. One, Teddy, comes out as a lesbian, and another, whose (ex)boyfriend has gone overseas and left her pregnant, falls in love with Teddy but then, several blissful months later, decides to marry her ex-boyfriend for the sake of the child. It’s the 1940s, and the lesbian, while heartbroken, believes it’s in the best interest of the child, so keeps silent. Teddy ends up with her first love, a “real’ lesbian. ♀

Paul Monette (1945-1995), Afterlife (1990). HIV+ men coping with the recent death of their loved ones. It’s set in Los Angeles, so there’s a lot of money, gyms, drugs, sex. Sean Pfeiffer, a very minor character, appears, from his collection of Polaroid photos, to be bisexual. Negative portrayal of bisexual identity, but a moving and beautifully-written account of the earlier years of the AIDS crisis. ♂

Bárbara Mujica, Frida. A novel based on the life of Frida Kahlo (2002). Mexican painter who was lovers with Diego Rivera, Leon Trotsky, and other men and women. Written from the perspective of her sister Cristina. ♀

Elias Miguel Munoz, Crazy Love (1988). About growing up in one Cuban American family. Focus on family dynamics and expectations, and on his sexual experiences, both consensual (with women and men) and nonconsensual (with men), while growing up and as an adult. ♂

Gloria Naylor, Bailey’s Cafe (1993). About suffering & survival, with a bi character, Jesse Bell. ♀

Ben Neihart, Burning Girl (1999). A working class college student in Baltimore, is enthralled by his wealthy friend and her brother. Secrets emerge, and he tries to figure out the truth as well as where his loyalties lie. All of the major characters appear to be bisexual. ♀, ♂

Edna O’Brien, The High Road (1988). An Irish woman goes to an island in Spain to recover from a broken heart caused by a relationship with a man, becomes attracted to a Spanish woman. AlsoCasualties of Peace, 1966 in An Edna O’Brien Reader (1994). O’Brien is an Irish author whose books were banned in Ireland in the 1960s. From an Irish woman’s perspective, she deals quite explicitly with life, sexuality, and emotion. ♀

Barbara Novak, The Margaret-Ghost (2003). Follows the lives of a young present-day feminist scholar and the subject of her research, 19th century US writer/feminist Margaret Fuller. Direct, unambiguous discussion of Fuller’s bisexuality. ♀

Achy ObejasDays of Awe. Alejandra is born in Cuba on the day Fidel Castro came into power and as a young child moves with her family to the US. The central theme of this book is identity: through immigration, exile, Jewish identity as descendents of conversos (Jews who converted to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition) and more. Interestingly, the protagonist’s first major relationship is with a man, and her second with a woman, but she does not discuss this aspect of her identity; it is simply a given. ♀

Joseph Olshan, Vanitas. (1998). Sam, a self-identified bisexual man primarily sexually attracted to men, is hired to ghost write the memoirs of a dying art dealer. This book is about the art world and also about love and commitment and sex and Sam’s unfulfilled desire to be a parent. ♂

Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, love you two. (2008). Just as she is coming into her own sexuality, Pina, a teenager in Italian family and community in Adelaide, Australia, is forced to re-think her preconceptions about relationships, family and sexuality as she learns her family is more complicated than she imagined. Explores issues of polyamory, bisexuality, closets and coming out and — above all — communication. ♂

Jacquelyn Holt Park, A Stone Gone Mad (1991). The story of a young lesbian attempting to come to terms with her sexuality. Two of the women in her life could be characterized as bisexual. A good read, and an interesting portrayal of life in the mid-1900s. ♀

Sparrow Patterson, Synthetic Bi Products (2002). A rudderless teenager in the American Midwest falls repeatedly into trouble with drugs and sex. She is most definitely bisexual, though apolitical. A disturbing novel, though a good read. ♀

Felice Picano, Late in the Season (1984). Gay-identified man in a long term relationship with a man meets and gets involved with a college-aged woman. Ambidextrous (1985). A currently-gay identified man looks back on his bisexual childhood and adolescence in NYC. ♂

Marge Piercy, Summer People (1989). Two women & a man in a triad relationship. ♀, ♂

Robert Plunkett, Love Junkie (1992). A wealthy suburban matron lacking meaning and purpose becomes attached to gay New York of the early 1980s, and falls in (unrequited) love with Joel, a porn star, who is (quite) bisexually active. Joel’s porn star girlfriend also expresses her desire to have sex with the protagonist. The word bisexual is not used. Humorous though disturbing look at a seriously dysfunctional social world. ♀, ♂

Manuel Puig, Kiss of the Spider Woman (1980). A homo­sexual window dresser and a heterosexual revolutionary are imprisoned in the same cell in a Latin American prison. Situa­tion­al bisex­uality. ♂

Jane Ransom, Bye Bye (1997). Psychological satire of NYC and its art scene. A New York woman thrown out by her husband for nonconsensual infidelity changes her identity, disappearing and then reappearing as “Rosie’ who is lovers with two women and one man. ♀

Mary Renault (1905-1983), The Persian Boy (1972). Fictionalized version of the story of the Persian king Darius and Alexander the Great, through the eyes of the eunoch slave boy Bagoas. Darius and Alexander are portrayed as bisexual, with Alexander high on the Kinsey Scale, and Darius somewhere in the middle. The Last of the Wine (1975, 1956). Set in ancient Athens, some men are heterosexual, some homosexual, and some bisexual. The male protagonist’s male lover is bisexual. ♂

Harold Robbins (1916-1997), Dreams Die First (1977). More 1970s male fantasy. The protagonist, who builds up a porn and casino empire, is this time himself bisexual (though for him it’s all male/female sex until page 372). He takes a lot of drugs and has several female lovers, most of whom get it on as well with other women. As I said, 1970s. ♀,♂

Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976). A straight man’s perspective of female bisexuality. ♀

Lucia St. Clair Robson, The Tokaido Road (1991). Set in 17th-century Japan, many of the male characters are behaviorally bisexual. ♂

Jane Rule (1931-2007), The Young in One Another’s Arms. (1984). In a Vancouver commune, two women have relationships with each other and with men. Themes include triangulation and redefinition of “family.’ This is Not for You (1982). The narrator, a lesbian?/bisexual? is in love with a female college classmate but despite the reciprocity of feeling refuses to allow a romantic or sexual relationship to develop. She later has a relationship with a woman married to a man. ♀

François Sagan, Painting in Blood. [originally in French: Un sang d'aquarelle. (1987)] (1991). An “apolitical’ Hollywood director moves to 1942 occupied France to make films for the Nazis and gradually realizes of the horror of the Nazis regime. His male and female lovers, both past and present, are prominent. One of his male lovers could be characterized as bisexual. ♂

Lauren SandersKamakazi Lust (2000). Repressed reporter/young woman in search of herself finds herself ghost writing for a pornmaker, former pornstar, a j0b that sets off her own sexual self-exploration. Quirky book that has received mixed reviews. ♀

Mayra Santos-Febres, Sirena Selena (2000). In San Juan a homeless 15-year-old is “adopted’ by a drag performer, who takes the child to the Dominican Republic to make him/her a star. Martha, in one chapter, delivers a critical monologue to the “indecisos’ (undecideds) in her audience who “don’t believe in classification.’ ♂, T

May Sarton (1912-1995), Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965). A poet looks back over her long life and recalls past loves, male and female, seeking to understand their relationship to the development of her poetry and her self. Sarton herself self-identified, at various times, as lesbian and bisexual. ♀

Cathleen Schine, Rameau’s Niece (1994). A New Yorker author gets caught up in the manuscript she is reading and her sexual fantasies run rampant. Their subjects are both male and female. ♀ She is Me(2003). Four generations of a family come together around family illness. Greta, who has been happily married to a man for 30 years, falls in love with a woman. Her daughter asks “You were happy?’ “Very.’ “You’re happy now?’ “Yes.’ ♀

Sarah Schulman, People in Trouble (1990). One major character, Kate, loves her husband and falls in love with a lesbian AIDS activist. Like all of Schulman’s books, a fascinating if sometimes depressing look at NYC life. ♀

Dani Shapiro, Playing With Fire (1989). Two young women meet in college, one from a religious Jewish family, the other a Christian socialite fall in love, then are pulled apart by a third party. Set in high society, a novel about family and boundaries. ♀

Tom Spanbauer. The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon. (1991). Several bi characters in this novel set in 19th-century Idaho. ♀, ♂

Carole Spearin McCauley, The Honesty Tree (1985). Two women in a relationship. ♀

Gina Spriggs, Dirty Laundry (2008). Two of the few African American girls in 1970s Scarsdale, NY are now professionally successful African American women married to men, with female lovers in their past — and one perhaps also in her future. Lots of drama regarding children, body image, parenting, betrayal, fidelity, the politics of skin tone. In the style of E. Lynn Harris’s novels. ♀

Starhawk, Walking to Mercury (1997). American writer and Wiccan priestess Maya Greenwood , approaching 40, goes on a pilgrimage to Nepal to lay her past to rest and figure out her future. She and her partner Johanna both identify as bisexual. Some discussions of identity! ♀

Elizabeth Stark, Shy Girl (1999). Two young women reunite in San Francisco where one tries to make sense of their shared past, family secrets, and relationship to each other. Shy, the other character, can be easily read as bisexual. ♀

Junichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965), Quicksand (1993, 1947). In 1920s Japan, a married female art student falls in love with a woman. Both are bisexual. Obsession and betrayal. ♀

Carla Tomaso, The House of Real Love (1992). One of the narrator’s lovers as well as the architect she is writing about have had relationships with both men and women. ♀ Matricide (1994). One of the narrator’s sidekicks is a woman just out of high school who self-identifies as bisexual. ♀

Gore Vidal, Myra Breckenridge (1968). Scandalous when first published! Myra (née Myron) goes to LA, seeking her inheritance. She’s outrageous, witty and insane. There are a number of references to bisexuality, with the topic even mentioned explicitly by name. Several characters have bisexual experiences. ♀, ♂ The City and the Pillar (1948). Coming out story of a young gay man. Contains several explicit, usually negative mentions of bisexuality. ♂

Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982). Shug, a major char­ac­ter, is bisexual ♀ Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992). Pierre, a self-declared bisexual, is a minor character who discusses, briefly, not only his own bisexuality, but his pansexual identity. ♂

Jess Wells, AfterShocks (1992). In more or less today’s San Francisco, the big earthquake has created havoc. Cherise, a secondary lesbian-identified character, has trouble committing to any relationship, and finds herself, after the quake, attracted to a man. ♀

Edmund White, The Beautiful Room is Empty (1988). The narrator’s best female friend, Maria, self-identifies as bisexual. Also minor male bisexual character. Autobiographical novel about growing up gay in New York in the 50s and 60s. ♀, ♂

Stevie White, Boy Cuddle (1992). A bisexual boxer in a relationship with a male prostitute, who also becomes involved with a female prostitute. About life on the streets of South London. The front cover says “Amoral. Bisexual. In love …?’ ♂

Bett Williams, Girl Walking Backward (1998). Coming of age novel about a white teenage girl in Los Angeles. Pagans and Goths and drugs, self-help and self-injury surround her search for love. Not in love with her boyfriend, she is obsessed with other girls. Maybe bisexual, perhaps on the road to becoming a lesbian. Humorous, poignant, disturbing. ♀

Jeanette Winterson, The Passion (1987). Set in France and Italy during Napoleon’s reign, one of the protagonists is a bisexu­al woman. Written on the Body (1992). The name and gender of the narrator (who talks of past relationships with men and with women) is never stated. Fascinating and unsettling.Gut Symmetries (1997). Two physicists, a married man and a single woman, have an affair, then she meets and falls for his wife. Beautifully written story. ♀

Shay Youngblood, Soul Kiss (2000). Young African American girl left at age seven by her addict mother with two “aunts’ (actually a couple) grows up, searches for love, and develops her sexuality. Her experience is bisexual, though her identity may not be. Beautifully written. ♀

Eda Zahl, Fluffy Butch (1994). Quirky novel about a young woman living in Los Angeles who dates men and women. ♀

Mystery


Antoinette Azolakov, Skiptrace (1998). Butch dyke tries to trace old girlfriend. Lesbian-killer at large. Secondary character (the woman her ex left her for) likes men too, and chooses to marry one because she can’t stand the heat of homophobia. ♀

Joseph Hansen, Backtrack (1982, 1987). A primarily gay young man trying to find out who murdered his primarily gay father. ♂ Steps Going Down (1982). There are two bisexual men in this crime book, both utterly unlikeable—but then this book contains unlikeable characters of several sexual orientations. ♂

Ellen Hart, Stage Fright (1992). Jane Lawless, a lesbian restauranteur and part-time sleuth, takes on a theatrical mystery. A secondary character, Dorrie, a city councillor, comes out to her as bisexual (even using the word!), and says “I hope I have another good relationship in my life, somewhere down the line, but it doesn’t make much difference to me whether it’s a man or a woman.’ The Merchant of Venus(2002). The granddaughter of the murdered man (a famous Hollywood producer) self-identifies as bisexual and broadcasts her life on a webcam. There is also talk about the closeted gay and bisexual Hollywood stars of yesteryear. A Killing Cure (1993). Protagonist’s lover self-identifies as bisexual. A minor part of the story, but clear nonetheless. ♀

Dick Kavanagh (pseudonym of Julian Barnes), Duffy (1980). Fiddle City, Putting the Boot In, and Going to the Dogs (all 1987). Standard English detective fare, except that the protagonist, Duffy, is a bisexual ex-cop. ♂

Carole Spearin McCauley, Cold Steal (1991). Mystery set in a cancer research lab. The protagonist and her former and current women lovers self-identify as bisexual. Lots of “oh, it’s so hard to be bisexual cause no one will understand or like you’ angst. ♀

Claire McNab, Fatal Reunion (1989). Part of the Carol Ashton detective series and falling under the general subject heading of what I refer to as “lesbiana,’ police detective Carol Ashton was left three years ago by a woman who is unwilling to leave her husband. Now the husband is dead, and the bisexual (at least in her behavior) ex-lover is accused of murder. Did she do it? ♀ Death Understood. Naiad, 2000. Lesbian thriller set in Australia. Secondary character, white supremacist Becky Hiddwing “was known to swing both ways. Not that she’d ever admitted to bisexuality, but enough discarded lovers had been indiscreet to ensure public knowledge of her healthy appetites.’ (p. 53) ♀

Barbara Wilson, Ambitious Women (1982). Three women in Seattle’s progressive community are caught up in a Grand Jury investigation into terrorism. One is bisexual and more comfortable with casual relationships than monogamous ones. Another’s identity goes from straight to lesbian. Trouble in Transylvania. (1993). One of the minor characters of this novel about foreign tourists set in Transylvania is a young Berkeley student who is referred to as bisexual and who self-identifies as queer: “I personally identify as queer. It doesn’t matter who I sleep with, I’m always queer.’ ♀

Mary Wings, She Came By The Book. (1996). Set in San Francisco’s gay community, this murder mystery includes a very, very minor bisexual plot twist. It’s interesting nonetheless, if you’re interested in a story that’s not too far off from real life community politics.

Young Adult


Mayra Lazara Dole, Down to the Bone (2008). A teenager struggles mightily with the perceived impossibility of coming out as a lesbian in Florida’s traditional and homophobic Cuban-American community. Kicked out of Catholic school and forced to choose between her family and being true to her self, she is helped along by a variety of straight, genderqueer, bi and gay friends. One minor — but positive! — bi character, and a mention of another bi woman who has left a girl for a boy. I enjoyed this one and appreciated its positive depiction of genderqueer and bi identities.♀

Garret Freymann-Weyr, My Heartbeat (2002). Set in NYC and viewed through the eyes of a 14-year-old girl, two 17-year-old-boys struggle to understand desire, relationships, and their potential futures. Their stories are bisexual, their future identities as yet unknown. ♂

Brent Hartinger, Geography Club (2003). A group of high school students struggle to come out. The protagonist’s best friend Min self-identifies as bisexual. A delightful portrayal, as she is one of the most confident, ethical, and unconflicted of the group. ♀ Split Screen: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies / Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies (2007). Narrated by bisexual Min and her best friend Russell. Min is a well-adjusted, happy bisexual teenager. Amazing! ♀

M.E. Kerr, Hello, I Lied (1997). A teenaged boy summering in an estate where his mother is employed as cook for a retired rock star, has a boyfriend back in New York, is dealing with being gay, then falls in love with a French girl who is a guest of the rock star. Oops. Is he really gay? What will his friends think now? ♂

David Levithan, Boy Meets Boy (2003). High school in some very progressive suburb of NYC. Protagonist is gay, and his circle includes Kyle, a boy who likes both boys and girls and is gradually coming to terms with his sexuality as well as with his crush on the protagonist. ♂

Myron Levoy, Three Friends. (1984). Moving story of three unconventional 14-year-olds in suburban New Jersey. One of the girls is clearly attracted to the other girl and boy, and the word bisexual is used. A sensitive look at the challenges of growing up. ♀

Sara RyanEmpress of the World (2001). Nic is a high school student spending the summer at a camp for gifted youth. She has never been in a romantic relationship, nor even a close friend. At camp, she finds both. She decides she is bisexual, because — though she is currently head over heels in love with another girl — she has had crushes on boys as well. ♀

Alex Sanchez, Boyfriends With Girlfriends (2011). Story focused on 4 high school students. One, Sergio, is clearly and unapologetically bi-identified. In my opinion, a breath of fresh air! Rainbow Boys(2001). Rainbow High. Simon & Schuster, 2003. The continuing story of three high school seniors exploring issues of identity and coming out. One of the boys explores bisexual identity. ♂

Paul Robert Walker, The Method (1990). The trials of being a straight, volatile, insecure teenage male. Included in the (literal) cast of characters in his theater company: Clifford, who is apparently dating both the male theater teacher, his girlfriend, and other girls. ♂

Jacqueline Woodson, The House You Pass on the Way (1997). Staggerlee, a biracial teenager in the U.S. south, finds herself in love with girls. One is her cousin Trout who comes to spend the summer because, it turns out, she has her own history with a girl. After returning home, Trout meets a boy she likes and has to tell Stagerlee. ♀

Poetry


Michelle Clinton, Good Sense & The Faithless. ( 1994). About life, about complexity, about racism, being bisexual, politics, more. ♀

M.S. Montgomery, Telling the Beads (1994). An explicit and emotionally gripping book of sonnets, a journey across the life of one bisexual man. ♂

Short Stories


Becky Birtha, “Ice Castle,” in Go the Way Your Blood Beats: An Anthology of Fiction by African-American Writers. Ed., Shawn Stewart Ruff (1996), pp. 93-121. ♀

Samuel Delaney, “Citre et Trans,” in Shade: An Anthology of Fiction by Gay Men of African Descent, ed. Bruce Morrow and Charles H. Rowell (1996), pp. 303-334. ♂

David Leavitt, “Houses,” in A Place I’ve Never Been. (1990), pp. 81-104. A male realtor, married to a woman, falls in love with a man. ?

Ursula LeGuin, “A Fisherman of the Inland Sea,” in A Fisherman of the Inland Sea (1995). Introduces the Planet of O, where all marriages consist of four people (2 men, 2 women). Recommended.

Ruthann Robson, Eye of a Hurricane (1989). Some of these short stories have bisexual characters. ♀

Jane Rule, Inland Passage (1985). “His Nor Hers,” “Puzzle,” and possibly “Inland Passage” have bisexual characters. ♀

Michelene Wandor, “Some of My Best Friends,” in Passion Fruit. Ed. Jeanette Winterson (1986), pp. 143-156. In the UK in the mid-80s, a lesbian and a gay man have a relationship, much to the dismay of their activist community. ♀♂

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