Mr. Loverman is Sublime.

Bernardine Evaristo’s novel, Mr. Loverman is the story of Barrington:  a septuagenarian West Indian man who has finally reached the decision to come out as gay.  His ever-shifting, highly complex situation is told from the perspectives of both Barrington and his Pentecostal Christian wife, Carmel.  In another time, their voices might be referred to as […]

Read Michael Carroll’s Little Reef.

In the twelve stories comprising Michael Carroll’s Little Reef, the qualities which make him a major new literary talent are on display.  Mr. Carroll is a master at dialogue, his characters are three-dimensional and he clearly knows how to construct a story.  But more than that, Mr. Carroll displays a self-confidence–a literary fearlessness which sets […]

Michael Cunningham’s The Snow Queen is Magnificent.

Near the beginning of Michael Cunningham’s magnificent new novel, one of the main characters has a potentially life-changing experience:  a seemingly celestial being appears to him in the sky above Central Park.  What ever this white light cloud formation is, it somehow seems to sense this person and even communicate with him.  And then it […]

Edmund White’s New Memoir is a Delicious Read.

Edmund White’s new book is a delicious read.  More than just a memoir of his years living “inside the pearl” that is Paris, it is also a peripatetic journey through France, Britain and Morocco.  Along the way, the reader will meet Michel Foucault, Milan Kundera, Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Amyn Aga Khan, Yves Saint Laurent […]

Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City Conclusion is Masterfully Constructed, Frequently Funny and Deeply Moving.

Concluding the Tales of the City series was perhaps Armistead Maupin’s most challenging literary task.  Concluding an epic novel–let alone a series of novels–involves not only revisiting the key characters and wrapping up their stories, but also the inclusion of something less tangible:  resonances of the beginning–gentle reminders of how far the characters have come.  […]

American Hipster: The Surprising Inspiration for the Beat Movement

He gave the Beat Movement its name, witnessed its history from beginning to end and was an accomplished author in his own right, but you probably haven’t heard of him.  Certainly this queer reader hadn’t heard of Herbert Huncke until he read Hillary Holladay’s biography of him.  Yet Ms. Holladay makes the convincing case that […]

Local Souls: Three Superb New Novellas from Allan Gurganus

Allan Gurganus’s new book, Local Souls, is a collection of three novellas.  They share a common location–the fictional town of Falls, North Carolina–and also a common theme:  survival.  They are rendered in a style that is at once lyrical and hyper-realistic.  And they are also frequently funny.  It’s quite an accomplishment:  this marriage of high […]

Benjamin Alire Saenz is a Great American Short Story Writer.

Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club is an excellent book.  I’m not the first to notice this.  It won the Lambda Award last month and before that, Benjamin Alire Saenz’s collection of short stories won the coveted Faukner Award.  While my review of this book is relatively tardy, it should not denote any […]

David McConnell’s American Honor Killings is a Remarkable Literary Achievement.

Some of the finest non-fiction crime writing can be found in David McConnell’s new book, American Honor Killings.  At it’s best, Mr. McConnell’s writing compares favorably to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Norman Mailer’s Executioner’s Song.  It is entirely appropriate that this book is dedicated to Edmund White, because, like Mr. White, David McConnell […]

Colm Toibin’s The Testament of Mary is Beautifully Written.

In his new book, The Testament of Mary, Colm Toibin humanizes the Jesus story by telling it from the perspective of his Jewish mother.  The Mary Mr. Toibin renders here lives her life in fear.  She fears the semi-hidden agents of Rome–“…the men who played dice close to where the crosses were…”  But perhaps just […]

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