The Men from the Boysby William J. Mann
Thirty-pluse freelance writer Jeff O'Brien panics when Lloyd, his partner of seven years, announces that/i>
The Men from the Boys is William J. Mann's savvy and sizzling novel about gay life in the nineties. It is also a story about sex -- safe sex, casual sex, real sex -- and love -- young lovers, old lovers, ex-lovers, falling in love, and staying in love.
Thirty-pluse freelance writer Jeff O'Brien panics when Lloyd, his partner of seven years, announces that there's no passion left in their relationship. But something even more invidious is about to rock Jeff's world: the imminent death of his 47-year-old ex-lover, Javitz, the activist who taught him the difference between Blanche Hudson and Blanche DuBois. Now Javitz has asked for one last summer in Provincetown, where Jeff once tricked with ravishing 22-year-old Eduardo in an unforgettable one-night stand. Suddenly, Jeff's life is a dizzying place filled with illicit desires, betrayals, broken promises, and everything that redefines such things as family, friends, and love -- both for himself and for gay generations to come. Witty and insightful, edgy and erotic, this is the story of what separates the men from the boys.
Jeff O'Brien, 32, is caught between "the boom and the X generations, pre- and post-Stonewall, positive and negative, young and old." He's been with his lover, Lloyd, for seven years, and each has embarked on a premature midlife crisis. The two have a sexually open relationship, but when Lloyd declares his need for even more space, Jeff is thrown into an emotional tailspin. (In one of several fine ironies, Lloyd flees to pursue a dream of spiritual transcendence, but it's Jeff who ends up experiencing it.) Jeff seeks solace from Javitz, a 47-year-old former lover, now dying of AIDS, who acts as a sort of wise elder, and from Eduardo, 22, the Provincetown native with whom Jeff thinks he's in love. After much anguished introspection, everybody finds a unique definition of passion, rooted in love and commitment, to replace idealized notions of endless sexual hunger. Meanwhile, Mann offers all one might ask for in gay fiction: solid, believable characters who reflect the ethnic, class, and generational diversity of the community; witty, ribald conversation that sounds the way people actually speak; laugh lines that are funny and sex scenes that are hot. The contemporary preoccupations of gay men are probed with rare insight: Can new families be created without renouncing the old ones? Do youth and looks have to be fetishized? What is safe sex? Can friends be lovers? Is the waning of sexual passion inevitable? The complicated flashback structure, alternating between Boston and Provincetown over a two-year period, is also deftly handled.
A nice blend of romance and comedy, and a thoughtful contribution to the search for an ethics of gay relationships. An impressive debut.
- Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.42(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.16(d)
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I rated a 4 for gift giving because it all depends on who you're giving the book to. But, in general, this book is all about what it takes to make a relationship, losing your friends, the transition from 80s to the 90s, and being scared of being alone. It's about a changing character who anyone could relate to. I probably bought it most of all because of the sex scenes I spotted in it, but actually, what I got was a hell of a lot more than just rutting on a couple of pages. It taught me what AIDS does to people and their friends and families, that using a condom really is a life saver, and friends really are your family. William J. Mann has this amazing author's voice that made me want to experience my own Boston romance, that made me want to be beside the characters and laugh along with them, that made me want to go to P-town for at least a vacation. It shows that being comfortable isn't always a good thing and change isn't always bad, that being in a relationship takes communication, commitment, and empathy. It has some of the most beautiful moments that will either have you crying or jumping out of your seat with a happy squeal. I never wanted it to end. I seriously recommend this book- for gays or anyone. It's insightful, it's heartbreaking, and it's truly a masterpiece. Enough said.
Although I liked the sequel ''where the boys are'' more than I liked this book,I still thought this was another one of William's masterpiece's.
Mr, Mann, the author of this book understands at least one thing. There is more than one kind of gay man in the universe. This book covers most of them and their entangled lives. The vain, the young, the fat, the loud & proud, the preppy, the insecure and the cocky. This book gave me a new out look.It was an enjoyable read. Be forewarned: the character(s) the author may want you to feel the most for may be the one's you recognize as the one's you despise in your own life.
Mr, Mann, the author of this book understands at least one thing. There is more than one kind of gay man in the universe. This book covers most of them and their entangled lives. The vain, the young, the fat, the loud & proud, the preppy, the insecure and the cocky. This book didn't take me to a 'higher place' but all the same it was an enjoyable read. Be forewarned: the character(s) the author may want you to feel the most for may be the one's you recognize as the one's you despise in your own life.