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Close to Spider Man

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  439 ratings  ·  34 reviews
"Close to Spider Man" marks the debut of an exciting new literary talent: a collection of connected stories whose female narrators seek out lives for themselves amidst the lonely, breathtaking landscape of the Yukon. The young women in Ivan Coyote's deeply personal stories are looking to make a break from their circumstances, but the North is in their bones: so is their co ...more
Paperback, 95 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published October 1st 2000)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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Ivan E. Coyote is a Canadian author and activist born and raised in the town of Whitehorse, in the northern Canadian territory of Yukon. Close to Spider Man is Coyote's first collection of stories, but those who experience stories of remote hardship, logging and fishing are in for a big surprise, as all of them feature characters who are experimenting with sexuality and trying to find their own, which is not always easy when you're living at the ends of the earth.

The stories themselves are very,
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Average star rating: 4.4/5
Final rating: 4.5/5

Updated full review 8/6/2020:

I absolutely loved this collection. It's a brilliant bit of work that hits all the right notes and retains its relevance as a work of queer fiction 2 decades down the line. If you want to know more about the individual stories and which ones stood out as favorites, here are the notes I took about each of the stories in the collection. I can't wait to read more of Ivan's work, I'm already sensing a new fave.


She C
Cheyenne Blue
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: glbtq, short-stories
Brilliant! Teeny-tiny stories with a loose coming-of-age theme, set in the Yukon Territory. These short short stories (most are only a few pages) are clearly and bluntly written. The bleak setting of the Yukon is a wonderful backdrop to these stories of girls and gender and love and childhood and adolescence.

Standouts for me were "No Bikini" in which the small girl narrator joins the boys in swimming class, leaving her bikini top behind, and "Red Sock Circle Dance" in which the narrator pledges
Flint Xavier
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Everyone I'd ever known was still alive"
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent collection of short stories, rendered with feeling and a lovely writing style.
Avi Grundner
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fast-reads-2018
While the back of the book describes the stories as coming from several different narrators, Coyote's strong voice and the semi-autobiographical nature of this work (in several stories the name Ivan is used) serve as a cohesive look at a variety of experiences that could all converge on a single person and exemplify an era of queerness in the Yukon. I was really touched by the simple, affective, and powerful prose; some of it hit really close to home. A wonderful little book
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I appreciate these working class memories. I'm reading it alongside Coyote's newer memoir, Tomboy Survival Guide, and it's interesting to see similar moments appearing in each, like melting a new hole in the back of a baseball cap, as well as different gender contexts. In some ways, the Survival Guide has more polished writing, but these stories stand well alone and each of them is a gem.
Robyn Obermeyer
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very nice batch of short stories, good for nitetime reading!
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well-written short stories set in the Yukon.
An Te Chu
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautifully queer
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Stories about queer family and name changes and watching your ex get married, and cold empty country
Pam P
Oct 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keep
A beautiful book, affirming and heart warming. Especially good for the young,or those of us who are not strangled by the binary. I read it every year and have for the past 4 I think. I am getting a new set from the author's publishers. My first copy was a discard from the Oakland Library, and I have to say it was a terrible decision that they made. If I had read this book as a teen enduring alienation from the world, so much of my life would have been understandable,bearable. Grace that I surviv ...more
Now this, I really enjoyed. It had two of my most favouritest things: a strong sense of place, and queers.

The only reason I didn't give it five stars was that I found myself *irritated* by the fact that it's short story collection, memoir, and novel all at once. The use of first person means that few of the stories have a named protag, although in all of them she's a gender-nonconforming AFAB person. In one she's named Ivan. It seems logical to read them all as the same person, but in that case
Carolyn Klassen
Close to Spiderman by Ivan E. Coyote is a book of short stories by a talented Yukon (Canadian) author. Loving the poignant, honest, down-to-earth memories of childhood and gender identity from our national treasure. There were stories that stand out as fantastic, and others that were good. I really don't care for the cover art; it could use an update for a new edition (if they print a new edition). This was my first time delving into Coyote's work and I can't wait to taste their other works.
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is one of Ivan's earlier books, but I just got around to reading it now. This slim little volume of short pieces isn't my favourite book of Ivan's, but it's still very good. I loved finding out how Frances came into Ivan's life. I've always wondered what the original connection was, and what kind of serendipitous fortune brought them together. By my calculations, Frances would be about 20 now. (This book reflects all the way back to Frances at three.)
Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have never read anything that Ivan E. Coyote wrote that I did not like. This book has been on my list to read for a while now and it did not disappoint. There is something about each story that I can relate to in some way. A kid getting into trouble, that first kiss, discovering who you are and everything in between.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A collection of short, poignant stories about gender and sexuality, all rooted in growing up in the Yukon. The stories all function independently, but they fit together neatly and often feel as if they could be about the same protagonist. Some stands outs to me are the title story and "No Bikini," but there isn't a weak story within the collection. Definitely worth a read!
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have three books going at the moment. o_O But this is short stories, so it easy to pick up when I only have a couple of spare minutes for reading.
But the short stories are packing a punch, I am really enjoying this.
Slim, simply written collection of coming-of-age short stories set in theYukon, which I presume are fairly autobiographical. It felt like a first book but had a neat sensibility. I had my usual hard time connecting with short stories.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
First one I read for this author
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very heartfelt bunch of stories about growing up knowing that you just don't fit in. An excellent read for oddballs everywhere.
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy Ivan's voice. Close to Spider Man explores experiences of gender and sexuality while they are young and does so both beautifully and simply.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Coyote is a deft writer. Each story a perfectly framed snapshot.
Faisal Almoaiqel
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
short stories
first book i've read in english :)
i like it :)
Jun 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Very easy to read. Some of the stories are heart warming.
Erin  Cisewski
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's been so long since I've laughed out loud reading something. Heartwarming, heartbreaking, and hilarious.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Coyote could write ad copy for long underwear and I will still love it.
It is a good collection of short stories. I enjoyed this book.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
Short and sweet, and an excellent story about childhood in Canada's north.
May 09, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: fiction
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Ivan Coyote was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. An award-winning author of six collections of short stories, one novel, three CD’s, four short films and a renowned performer, Ivan’s first love is live storytelling, and over the last thirteen years they have become an audience favourite at music, poetry, spoken word and writer’s festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam.

Ivan E. Coyote,

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