The Daddies: A Novel
Bring a reading of The Daddies to your bookstore, library, conference or classroom.
A love letter to masculinity, and an indictment of patriarchy.
How do you invest in a relationship built on deception, then break up without destroying everything? Is it possible to leave love intact but transformed?
THE DADDIES is a story about love and grief – how it hurts to change, even when change is needed. Using hybrid narrative, magical realism and pop-culture analysis, THE DADDIES offers a dark love letter to masculinity told as a lesbian leather-Daddy love story. The story follows a break-up between adults, lovers, but the metanarrative is about our cultural need to break-up with patriarchy, while still holding onto love for masculinity. THE DADDIES is about the pain of change, an unflinching tour through the pleasures and horrors of domination.
Watch the trailer for THE DADDIES here:
Press for The Daddies
2019 Over the Rainbow Recommended Reading List
A multi-faceted rich exploration of masculinity, patriarchy, and domination from a lesbian perspective. This work is part novel, part memoir, and part social analysis all combined - a surprising and challenging read.
How Kimberly Dark is Untangling Herself from Patriarchy:
Who's Your Daddy? Kimberly Reflects on Meeting "Daddy"
Socially, we’ve made a pact to ignore our Pavlovian responses to patriarchy. Feminism taught us we should only have negative responses to patriarchy—when the truth is, we have a range of responses embedded in our desires and behaviors, and some of those responses are ecstatic and operate like need or hunger. Even when consciously, we want to dismantle systems that harm us all...
All of us—people of all genders—have been in the service of protecting a very infantile, brutal masculinity. All of us have been in cahoots to subjugate femininity. But putting aside the desire to mother infantile masculinity is not putting aside desire. The way forward is to follow our physical urges, follow our desires. Then to complicate those desires, add to them desires for new things. Pretty soon, those more painful ways of doing fall away because there are alternatives... what does masculinity looks like if it is not about protecting power?
Praise for The Daddies
No one anywhere writes all the way through eros, power exchange, and sexuality more fiercely than Kimberly Dark. In The Daddies, Kimberly risks what most writers will not, opening up and asking how masculinity has woven through every realm of our existence, how it has seduced us, betrayed us, protected us, violated us, how it lives in men and women and every other gender and sexuality, how we are facing a reckoning. Kimberly Dark asks us to embrace and reimagine masculinity from the inside out and hold the embrace long enough to change the world.
- Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Small Backs of Children and Chronology of Water
To say that The Daddies is an intensely textured, kaleidoscopic take on masculinity, Daddy-dom, and the pleasures, perils, and politics of femininity is only partly true. More accurately it is a hypersaturated, unrelenting Willy Wonka boat ride through a pulsating circulatory system of patriarchy, pain, and desire. Kimberly Dark has done something brave and difficult here, and I do not refer merely to the text.
- Hanne Blank, author of Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality
Dark's work is a multi-layered hybrid of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, autoethnography, biomythography, and collage, which explores the concepts of 'Daddy' through social critique of news and pop culture. This is the very best of Dark - storytelling that highlights gendered interactions and what they tell us about erotic love and masculinity. This book caresses important things in social science that need focus and attention -- sexual abuse, gendered expectations, and figuring out identity and desire in a patriarchal world. Dark's panache for nuanced cultural analysis and storytelling makes this book the kind of medicine you can't wait to take; you will want to buy a copy for all the people in your life."
- Sandra L. Faulkner, Director of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Bowling Green State University, author of Writing the Personal and Knit Four, Frog One
Feminist in its worldmaking, inellectual in its erotic poetry, and razor sharp in its depictions of contemporary American gender ideology, Kimberly Dark's The Daddies is a complex and genre-bending contribution to the archive of queer feeling and to theorizing through storytelling. In this autoethnography of Daddy's Worlds, the girls who inhabit and work in them are allowed to examine pleasures and pains of power and contradiction. Taking a range of positions, Dark's writing dares to interrogate the psychic structures and deep ambivalences of a queer desire and kinship form in ways that move us beyond simplistic ideas of perversion and subversion. The Daddies is a welcome addition to fem(me)inist sexual theory and a portrait of contemporary patriarchy by and for Daddy's girls, by and author who has lived and survived and dared to tell. Plus we learn more about what is at the root of #metoo and its perpetual reproductions from this book than many other contemporary sources.
- Ulrika Dahl, Professor of Gender Studies at Uppsala University, co-author of Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer Femininities
Daddy is a person with the kind of power that asks to be misused. This is an honest, disturbing, difficult confrontation with the uncontainable. A labor of truth-telling.
- Sarah Schulman, author of The Cosmopolitans and Conflict is Not Abuse
In this intricate and robust account, Kimberly Dark explores the world of Daddies who repel and compel us. Dark reveals in story after story a masculine culture that garners consent and insists on resistance. For readers who think this is not their world, they may be surprised to find themselves. For readers who already live there, they will see themselves rendered with sensitivity, intelligence, and compassion. For all readers, they will feel they are in the trusted hands of a careful scholar and skilled writer. Pleasure waits for those who will allow Kimberly Dark to take charge from page one to the very last word."
- Ronald J. Pelias, University of Louisiana
About time someone wrote this book! And what good news that a writer and researcher as skilled as Kimberly Dark has taken it on.
- Laurel Richardson, author of Why I Love Earnest
What a deep and moving work, with plenty of meat for the erotic imagination *and* our inner culture spelunker. Kimberly Dark's strong, nimble writing dances complexly -- but so, so readably -- through the mythic, the erotic, the sociopolitical, the pop-cultural. It invites us to take an insight-provoking journey through many kinds of gender, many kinds of sex, many kinds of love. Thank you, Kimberly, for refusing to whittle all this down to make it seem simple.
- Carol Queen, PhD, author of The Leather Daddy & The Femme and Real Live Nude Girl
The Daddies is an unforgettable book. Beautifully written, brutally honest, poignant -- essential reading for anyone interested in the complexity of gender identity, relationships and sexuality, the forever affect of incest between daddy and daughter, as well as the importance of sharing our stories as part of the journey toward transformation and healing.
- Mary E. Weems, author of Blackeyed: Plays and Monologues
Published by Brill Sense Publishers: Social Fiction Series. ISBN-13: 978-9004383548