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Spy Daughter, Queer Girl: In Search of Truth and Acceptance in a Family of Secrets
     by Leslie Absher
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Book Description:

For Leslie Absher, secrecy is just another member of the family. Throughout childhood, her father's shadowy government job was ill-defined, her mother's mental health stayed off limits--even her queer identity remained hidden from her family and unacknowledged by Leslie herself. 


In SPY DAUGHTER, QUEER GIRL, Absher pursues the truth: of her family, her identity, and her father's role in Greece's CIA-backed junta. As a guide, Absher brings readers to the shade of plane trees in Greece, to queer discos in Boston, and to tense diner meals with her aging CIA father. As a memoirist, Absher renders a lifetime of hazy, shapeshifting truths in high-definition vibrance. 


Infused with a journalist's tenacity and a daughter's open heart, this book recounts a decades' long process of discovery and the reason why the facts should matter to us all. 

Praise for Spy Daughter, Queer Girl:


"Spy Daughter, Queer Girl is succinctly written, gorgeously rendered, and emotionally illuminating. One could describe it as part memoir, part spy thriller, but it also has a wider scope: It brings to life a micro-history of being young and gay in America in the ’80s."

     --Sophia Glock, Ms. magazine

"The fierceness of Absher’s courageous quest to learn the gut-wrenching truths of her father’s obfuscations parallels her search for her own truths in struggling to know herself as a gay woman....This book is a treasure."

     --Kathryn Watterson, author of Women in Prison, Not by the Sword, and I Hear My People Singing

“A riveting examination of identity and how the people who raise us make us—and how we all must continually remake ourselves. A moving portrait of a father-daughter relationship defined by secrets so big they spanned continents. Absher writes with heart, humor, and the grace that comes with forgiveness—the ultimate mission impossible.”

     --Jessica Pearce Rotondi, author of What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family’s Search for Answers

"Leslie tells her story with soul-searing honesty, plenty of self-deprecation and humour. In working through her own story, confronting her difficult past, she's revealed the human damage - most often to innocents - inflicted by the espionage "game" played out on the global chessboard." 

     --Ian Callaghan, producer of the Audible Original series My Dad the Spy


"A gut-wrenching portrait of a daughter in search of her father’s love, affection and attention, with Greece as a backdrop and the CIA always in the shadows. It is a cautionary tale about the effects of parental neglect, and ultimately a long overdue and touching reconciliation between father and daughter. I loved the book as a Greek American, a former CIA officer, and the father of a brave LGBTQ activist who may have felt many similar emotions growing up in a CIA family."

     --Marc Polymeropoulos, former CIA senior intelligence officer and author of Clarity in Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the CIA

“In rich crisp prose, Leslie Absher immerses the reader into a world of espionage, loss, love, and becoming. With a literary deftness for observations, Absher is able to depict her early life with a tangible vividness that creates a symbiotic relationship between author and reader that elevates the book beyond a simple retelling of an interesting life.”

     --Kacy Tellessen, author of Freaks of a Feather: A Marine Grunt’s Memoir

"As the child of intelligence officers, I was deeply moved by Leslie Absher's book. More than a poignant memoir, it is a thrilling detective story where the stakes are both unique to the child of an intelligence officer and painfully universal. It is a beautiful and expertly crafted exploration of our need for love, connection,  and home. Her story broke my heart and engrossed me the whole way."

     --Sophia Glock, cartoonist and author of the graphic memoir Passport 

"Without a drop of sentimentality but with a giant heart and a fresh, assured voice, Absher explores the roles of memory, secrets, and the grief that comes from what we hide and what we leave behind­­—and what we simply cannot."

     --Natalie Bakopoulos, associate professor and author of Scorpionfish and The Green Shore

"Spy Daughter, Queer Girl is a family saga, a coming-of-age and a coming-out story, an inside view of CIA operations in Greece and other countries, and a mystery. With prose as bright and clear as an alpine lake, Absher lays bare the complexities of her own story side-by-side with her quest to understand her father. Spoiler alert: the jewel at the heart of the labyrinth is love."
     --Alison Luterman, poet, essayist, and author of Feral City and In the Time of Great Fires

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Latah Books and the author are grateful to Spokane Arts for its generous support of this project.

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