by Philip Gambone
3.5 2


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Beijing by Philip Gambone

Escaping his ghosts, AIDS widower David Masiello accepts a one-year position at a Western medical clinic in Beijing. Lonely but excited, he sets out to explore the city—both its bustling street life and its clandestine gay subculture.
    David chronicles his adventures in China as he wrestles with cultural dislocation, loneliness, and sexual and spiritual longing. After a series of both comic and poignant encounters with gay Chinese men, he meets Bosheng, a handsome young artist. Though the attraction is strong, a difficult courtship ensues, during which Bosheng returns to his ancestral village to marry the girl his parents have chosen for him. Eventually, and quite unexpectedly, David and Bosheng reconnect and share an idyllic spring together. As the year ends, David must decide whether to say goodbye or face the uncertainties of a long-distance relationship.
    Gambone’s novel is peopled with a host of wonderfully memorable characters: Owen, David’s forthright best friend back home; Auntie Chen, the clinic’s office mom, who wants to fix David up with a girlfriend; Stewart, David’s Beijing roommate, a graduate student doing research on Peking opera; Jiantao and Guoyang, two lovers who lecture David on the fleeting quality of American romance; and Tyson, the Australian doctor with a Chinese girlfriend, who hopes to teach David that love doesn’t need any explanations or justifications.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780299184902
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date: 04/10/2003
Edition description: 1
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Philip Gambone is an award-winning essayist, journalist, and fiction writer living in Boston. He teaches writing at Harvard University. His previous work includes Something Inside: Conversations with Gay Fiction Writers, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press, and a book of stories, The Language We Use Up Here. This is his first novel.

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Beijing 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in two days and resented any interruption. As an American lesbian and student of the Chinese language and culture this book bridges a gap, or maybe I should say it opens a door for me, filling a much needed literary space - quite skillfully. I very much enjoyed the story of David Masiello, the main character. He is an AIDs widower who finds himself approaching 50 and in a rut - two years after the death of his lover. He is in need of a change, a jumpstart, something that will bring meaning to his life. On a whim, David decides to take a job in China for a year. What he learns about life, love and about himself brings him the peace that he is in search of. I guess sometimes you do have to go all the way around the world to find it... and what a great trip!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago