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Different People: A Novel

Overview

"Outland’s deliciously old-fashioned premise and the digressions and asides he sprinkles in throughout make for charming reading."—Booklist

Ever since high school, Cal Hewitt and Eric Hamilton have had a thing for each other. But they are so different, so opposite, neither has had the nerve to do anything about it. Over more than a decade spanning the late 1980s and the 1990s, life’s greatest challenges, victories, and tragedies keep them from ever truly connecting or, ...

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Overview

"Outland’s deliciously old-fashioned premise and the digressions and asides he sprinkles in throughout make for charming reading."—Booklist

Ever since high school, Cal Hewitt and Eric Hamilton have had a thing for each other. But they are so different, so opposite, neither has had the nerve to do anything about it. Over more than a decade spanning the late 1980s and the 1990s, life’s greatest challenges, victories, and tragedies keep them from ever truly connecting or, alternately, losing touch. When two men are this perfect for each other, however, nothing is going to keep them apart—if they can only stop hating each other long enough to figure that out.

Orland Outland is the author of six books, including the romantic comedy best-seller Every Man for Himself. He lives in Reno.

2002 Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Romance

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Missed opportunities and random happenstance divide but ultimately unite two men in Outland's (Every Man for Himself) sweeping, prosy novel, set in Reno, Nev.; San Francisco; and New York City in the late 1980s. Timid, Christian-raised Cal Hewitt considers gorgeous boyhood neighbor Eric Hamilton a delectable temptation while getting reacquainted with him during a postcollege summer at home in Reno, but a misunderstanding squelches any chance for romance, and they move to opposite ends of the country. Eric relocates to San Francisco and becomes an AIDS activist while closeted Cal barely scrapes by in New York City. When Cal's father falls ill, he rushes home and is again reunited with Eric, though their social choices estrange them even further. Bolstered by his father's inheritance, Cal moves to San Francisco and into a downward spiral of methamphetamine abuse and unprotected sex. Meanwhile, Eric's writing career takes off and he finds a lover. Cal winds up testing HIV-positive and becomes suicidal, but survives it all by moving back home with his religious mother, Carol. After Eric loses his mother to cancer and his lover to AIDS, he decides to return home as well; the men rediscover each other, fall in love and vacation in Paris. Outland's tale has moments of eloquence but is largely overwritten and mawkish. Platitude-heavy prose makes for a sluggish plot, though the characterizations are strong enough to keep readers interested. More experienced gay fiction fans might find this book on the bland side of pleasurable, super-sexy cover art notwithstanding. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ineptly written tale about two gay men whose lives intersect over the years. Coming-of-age in Reno, Eric Hamilton and Cal Hewitt sense a powerful attraction to each other. In a park one day, Eric summons the courage to kiss Cal passionately and Cal recoils. The move was foolhardy, Cal protests, since it nearly sparked a beating from onlooking gay-bashers. Other forces prevent Cal from opening up to a relationship with Eric-in particular, Cal's Christian fundamentalist parents and their homophobia. The men take separate paths. Eric embraces gay life in San Francisco in the '80s as he fights through ACT UP for the rights of AIDS victims. Eventually frustrated by that group's infighting, he travels to New York, where he quickly finds professional and personal success. He wins writing assignments from major magazines and the love and partnership of another man. Meanwhile, Cal takes a destructive course. Still closeted, he is able to have sex only when he's on drugs ("He had resigned himself to his Sisyphean doom"). Soon he's hustling the streets of San Francisco for drug money, eventually suffering a mental breakdown. Returned to Reno to recover, Cal learns that Eric has also come back home for healing after the death of his mother (from cancer) and of his boyfriend (from AIDS). Predictably, the two begin to forge a relationship. The point that many forces buffet gay love (or any love, for that matter) and that the love still survives is a strong one, however familiar. But rather than dramatize the theme, Outland (the nonfiction Coming Out, 2000, etc.) stalls his story with a seemingly interminable series of banal and ponderous authorial observations ("Power is addictive in the simplestsense, in that once addicted, you can never get enough"), clichés ("his writing . . . took wing"), stilted dialogue, and cumbersome sentences. Back to the drawing board.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555838263
  • Publisher: Alyson Books
  • Publication date: 11/1/2003
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Orland Outland is the author of eight books, including the best-sellers A Serious Person, Different People, and Every Man For Himself. He lives in Reno, Nev.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2002

    Must Read

    Great book, I could not put it down. This book reminded me of part of my life in San Francisco and a great view of gay life and relationships.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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