Tree Abraham



Books

elseship

an unrequited affair

An experimental and artistic portrait recounting, describing, and creating meaning from the year that followed a friendship confronted by unrequited love

This story begins where most end. When Tree Abraham, who identifies as queer and asexual, falls in love with her housemate who does not reciprocate the feeling. Instead of breaking up, they keep going. elseship deftly and courageously recounts the starts and stops of a transitioning relationship from housemates and friends into an undefined elseship. 

But this is not a book that plays both sides. Having recorded the experience in real time, Abraham combines personal entries with illustrations, photos, and thought-maps all organized within eight Ancient Greek categories of love. elseship is not only Abraham’s side of the story, which is written with reverence, searching honesty, and integral curiosity, it’s also the manifestation of the absence of an unrequited love: "To endure our complexity I had to actively solder facets of us into a meaningful narrative. That year I needed this story, I still do."

Abraham’s prose matches the serious play of Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost, with the illuminating and reframing capacities of Angela Chen’s Ace. It is not afraid of reference, collaboration, memory, or associative thought, often allowing language itself to dictate the direction of meaning. Through the eight Ancient Greek categories of love, Abraham deconstructs the heteronormative—canon which sees only platonic or romantic—by detailing the beauty in mania, the eros in pain, eventually giving way to a new language, to describe the love of elses. 

elseship is a travelog exploring terrifying, lonely, uncharted territories of the heart, and a glimpse into a mind mapping pathways that probe the edges of an eroding boundary of romantic love. It is a deeply specific yet universal story of modern love that will accompany and enlighten anyone who’s been in any kind of complicated “ship” at any time.