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AUTHOR: Fiona Alison Duncan
PUBLISHER: Soft Skull Press
DATE: 2019
PAGES: 192
AWARDS: Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Fiction (2020)

Exquisite Mariposa

by Fiona Alison Duncan

Given the initials F.A.D. at birth, Fiona Alison Duncan has always had an eye for observing the trends around her. But after years of trying to please others, looking for answers in books and astrological charts, and clocking endless hours as a celebrity journalist just to make rent, Fiona discovers another way of existing: in the Real, a phenomenological state few humans live in.

Fiona’s journey to the Real takes her to Koreatown, Los Angeles, where she sublets a room in La Mariposa. There she meets a cast of friends and lovers, like Amalia, an artist whose muse is her pet pigeon; Lucien, an infamous philanderer; and Morgan, whose anxiety keeps her from ever sitting still. When Fiona is offered the chance to turn her new household into a reality TV show, she jumps at the opportunity―but it isn’t long before she begins to question this new script.

In the midst of her Saturn Return, Fiona pulls the plug on the reality TV deal, heals a few addictions, and returns to writing with Exquisite Mariposa, a debut novel starring her housemates as they ask questions of survival, art, love, language, and the possibilities of rewriting one’s life.


Exquisite Mariposa won the Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Fiction in 2020. It is a fictionalized story of author Fiona Alison Duncan’s life.



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