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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.
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.
Posted April 13, 2005
Posted August 10, 2003
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 2, 2000
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 29, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted October 5, 2010
No text was provided for this review.