Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Gay Authors/Books that Inspire Me: The Hoursby Michael Cunningham


The Hours interweaves the lives of three women from three different times: Clarissa Vaughan, who one New York morning goes about planning a party to honor a beloved poet/writer; Laura Brown, who in a 1950s Los Angeles suburb begins to feel the constraints of a “perfect” family and home; and Virginia Woolf, recuperating with her husband in a London suburb, and beginning to writer her beloved novel Mrs. Dalloway. These three tales come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace that few gay authors could have pulled off.

It is a beautifully written novel about relationships, living and dying, and love.

Of all the gay-themed books I’ve read, I believe this is not only my favorite, but also the finest example of gay literature we have. The author’s deep empathy of his characters as well as the extraordinary resonance of his prose continues to astound me every time I read it. It is, in my opinion, Cunningham’s most mature and masterful work. I can think of no other work by a gay author that has influenced and inspired me more.

https://www.amazon.com/Hours-Novel-Michael-Cunningham/dp/0312243022/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531331587&sr=8-1&keywords=the+hours+michael+cunningham&dpID=51nJi6kvjrL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Author Laury A. Egan reviews Surviving Immortality by Alan Chin



A Propulsive, Suspenseful, Dystopian Novel: Surviving Immortality

Reviewed by Laury A. Egan

Surviving Immortality—a provocative title (an oxymoron?) that raises a myriad of questions, chiefly: How can someone survive immortality if one is already immortal, i.e., there is inherently no need to survive if a person already will live forever? How can the state of immortality exist? What would create such a state? As I approached Alan Chin’s new book, these were my initial thoughts. 

The novel is a cautionary tale about how society and, indeed, our civilization has been poisoned by people’s need “to convince themselves that they are relevant in an irrelevant universe.” Chin cites three pernicious threats that are destroying us: Religion: “The myth of God and a hereafter [that] gives [people] a false sense of importance.” Greed: “the idea that we are what we own…that gluttonous pigs want not only the best of everything…but they don’t want others to have what they’ve got.” The third is that “people [are] willing to defend themselves and their cause at all costs. Their sense of heroism gives them relevance. They have a deep distrust of governments, other religions, and other tribes.” In our present times, these insidious menaces are eating at the fabric of our humanity, eroding our democracy, our belief in truth, our feelings of empathy, our trust and morality, and our system of justice and government. Surviving Immortality is a serious warning about where the human race is headed and a very relevant one.

Although the book deals with weighty themes and edges into the category of dystopian fiction, it is primarily a fast-paced thriller wrapped around a coming-of-age story about Matt Reece Connors, an eighteen-year-old boy who, over the course of events, becomes a man. The beginning chapter sets us on a ranch in Nevada. Matt Reece is a fine horseman and cowboy who lives with his father, Jessup, and his stepfather, Kenji—the two are married. Matt Reece himself is gay, though without any sexual experience. At first, the reader may expect that a western—perhaps in the mold of Brokeback Mountain—is about to unfold. Then, suddenly, as we are settling in to life on the ranch, a tornado of events engulfs Matt Reece, and he is forced to rush headlong into a journey that takes him to multiple exotic places and thrusts him up against a cast of villains who embody all that is wrong with our world. 

Alan Chin writes with an impressive knowledge of science, medicine, technology, sailing, horsemanship, and also masterfully describes numerous national and international locations. The action is propulsive and suspenseful, yet never loses sight of Matt Reece’s personal challenges: his quest to overcome his fears and to find his identity.—Laury A. Egan, author of Fabulous! An Opera Buffa  

Published by Dreamspinner Press. Available in paperback and eBook.


Additional Information
Format
ebook and print
Length
Novel, 446 pages/154331 words
Heat Level
Publication Date
05-June-2018 
Price
$6.99 ebook, $19.99 paperback, $19.99 bundle
Buy Link

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Little Vin at Dreamland by Edward Patterson


Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Dancaster Creative (April 21, 2017)


An Enchanted Adventure 

Every once in a while a book comes along that has a unique voice, a fresh and vibrant set of characters, and has the ability to transport me into another world for an adventure beyond my limited imagination. I recently experienced a writer who took me on an adventure filled with history and wonder and valor found in unexpected places. The author is Edward C. Patterson and the story is called Little Vin at Dreamland.

Little Vin at Dreamland takes the reader back into 1910 during the zenith of Coney Island’s Dreamland amusement park. Out of this rich history comes the journey of one young man, Vincent Grainger, who dreams of breaking free of the hard-toiling life in the Irish immigrant community, and expanding his acting/dancing talents in Dreamland Park’s Congress of Oddities.

Vincent (Little Vin) starts his journey mucking out livery stables while keeping an eye open for opportunities to bringing in pocket change and keep aspirations afloat. And he finds opportunities - posing for artists and waiting tables and dancing for dimes. It’s a time to sparkle for those with ambition; and little Vin has the spark to get him through the best and worst of it.

Although Little Vin is the protagonist, the main character in this novel is the dazzling world of Coney Island in its heyday, and the wide spectrum of Brooklyn society, ranging from the posh to the seedy. Little Vin takes the reader on a journey through this interesting and vivid landscape, from the thousand lights of Dreamland, Luna and Steeplechase Parks to the early days of the silent film industry at Fort Lee, NJ. 

This is a story about loyalty, duty and determination. Loyalty to family, to friends, but mostly loyalty to that dream that burns within. It follows Little Vin’s efforts to balance family duty with his burning aspirations, and the stakes are raised when love blossoms in the most unexpected way.

This story is a vivid, imaginative, and often humorous romp through a pivotal point in American history. I found it a delightful read, a feel good story where love and hope and all that makes American society great eventually triumphs. 

This is a character driven story (I do consider the location a character), and Patterson skillfully presents these characters with marvelous depth, using an excellent blend of tragedy and humor.

The author’s consummate skill at crafting prose and his well-researched details kept me fully engaged until the last page. I would recommend this read to anyone who enjoys multifaceted characters, humor, and a well-crafted story.

http://www.dancaster.com/