Sunday, October 7, 2012

Songs For The New Depression by Kergan Edwards-Stout

Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Circumspect Press
Pages: 252

This story compiles three snapshots in the life of Gabe, a gay man with a troubled soul, biting wit, and razor sharp tongue. Each snapshot—near death, middle age, young teen—focuses on his relationship with his love interest during that fragment of his life.

Gabe is a man who, because of a sexual-bullying incident during his early years, has built up strong, thick walls around his heart, and uses his cutting wit to keep people at a distance, even though he craves love and affection. Completely self-absorbed, he is also a man that during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, was changing sexual partners as often as he was changing his socks.

This is not really what I consider an AIDS story, yet the virus plays a major role in the interplay between Gabe and his love interests. This is a sad story brushed onto the canvas with insightful, dark humor and touching flourishes.

Gabe is not a likable character, yet the author skillfully presents his protagonist in such a way that the reader understands why Gabe chooses to push people away, even people he loves. Also, the three snapshots are told in reverse-chronological order, so the reader builds up sympathy for the character while he struggles with AIDS, and then in the end, reveals the sexual incident that derailed Gabe’s life, to finally bring understanding. Reversing the order was a stroke of genius.

The author presents a story that is heartfelt and authentic, and told with great skill.

If you are looking for a gushing mm romance with a happy ending, keep looking. If you are looking, however, for a well-written, intelligent, bittersweet tale of love and overcoming a troubled past, then I can highly recommend this gem of a book. 

No comments: