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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Proclamations of the Red Queen

31st May 2008

Review: Best Gay Romance (2008)

Posted by: Craig Young

romance.jpgBook review: Best Gay Romance 2008. Edited by Richard Labonte (Cleis Press, San Francisco)

I’ve read two of these Cleis Press collections¬†with my partner, and so far, we’ve agreed that there are several characteristics that seperate gay romance from gay erotica. We’ve concluded that one essential attribute is ‘hot monogamy’, usually seems to involve a familiar house or apartment, and often what will either develop into a long-term relationship, or is set within the context of such a relationship.

I was especially pleased to see two stories that dealt with the reality of gay male ageing. In Henry and Jim, two elderly gay men have been together for over a half-century, which is about how long my own folks have been married. Sadly, though, one of the couple is succumbing to Alzheimers.

In the Empire Room involves a man who is trying to come to terms with his gat cousin’s suicide. Coming Home involves a country boy attracted to his stepbrother, home from the city for a spell. Endless Against Amber is set in Brisbane, and deals with the ever-present relatives and friends that frustrate the assignations of its teenage gay protagonists. In Not So Straight Duet, two groups of ’straight’ maaaaaaaates mate - one as a result of long-term friendship and a gay-for-pay episode online, and the other couple again after the morning after the night before with a lot of booze (as often occurs in these cases). In another story, two men on one of those interminable reality television athletic ‘challenge’ series mount each other on Mount Kilimanjaro, and the experience proves so stimulating they decide to move in together stateside.

Two particular stories stand out. The Canals of Mars is the other story involving an elderly man as half of a couple, while the other half is a man dealing with recovery from cosmetic surgery after an accident that resulted in initial facial disfigurement. Our personal favourite, though, has to be The Bike Path, which involves a long-term couple, a summer’s day, a bike path and a secluded cropland clearing nearby.¬† Jeff and I are scouting around for bike paths to try this one out on ourselves…

Tags: General

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