Sunday, August 4, 2013
You Are Here by Chris Delyani
Reviewer: Alan Chin
Peter Bankston is a newcomer to San Francisco, transplanted from the Midwest. He’s a struggling artist, young and uncertain, and overwhelmed by the city’s gay scene. He’s longing for love, but prefers to focus on his artistic endeavors rather than take a chance on relationships.
Peter works in a coffee shop and dreams of being a painter. His search for happiness becomes entwined with the lives of three gay men: Peter’s vindictive landlord Jeff King; Miles Bettencort who obsesses about the lover who walked out on him shortly before they were to be married; and handsome Nick Katsaris, who seems to have everything going for him. The author uses these characters to weave a complex romance, using San Francisco as a backdrop.
In Peter Bankston, Delyani has created a protagonist with the kind of innocence and purity that can’t help but affect everyone who comes within his gravitational pull, including the reader. This is a romance, yet it’s also Peter’s coming of age story.
This is a typical romance, with few surprises in the plot. It is not particularly well written, however, it does have interesting characters, and several emotional scenes that kept me reading.
One of the most enjoyable elements of this story is the setting, San Francisco, and the author gives first-hand knowledge of the city. It was like being back home, walking the streets and enjoying all the shops and restaurants in my favorite parts of town.
This coming-of-age/romance story, I feel, is a good read for young gay men trying to navigate the same turmoil and pitfalls as the lead character. I think younger people can appreciate this story, and learn from it.