I suppose for the sake of symmetry I should have come up with a top five of straight books, but this was easier to do…
Colm Tóibín tells the story of how a half-English man in Argentina stops hiding from the world, and stops hiding the world from himself. Despite its major issues – Argentinean politics, the Falklands War, AIDS – The Story of the Night is not a dark book. Honest and capable of making you uneasy at times, but also tender and almost hopeful. And Tóibín’s writing is always a joy.
I always admire writers who dare to address the reader directly, which is a lot harder to do than it looks, and Neil Bartlett brings you very close to the feelings and fears of his characters. Set partly in the twenties, partly in the fifties of the last century, Mr Clive & Mr Page is emotionally and structurally complex, and it takes time to let it all sink in. Definitely a book to read more than once.
Unlike the others appearing in this list, the heroes – or heroines – of Gale’s books don’t usually struggle with being gay. Rough Music is about the experience of Alzheimer’s and the way memory works. And, almost incidentally, about a gay man finding love where he least expected it.
Mostly David Leavitt’s books are a bit too anxious-and-American for me, but I always enjoy reading Arkansas. Especially the first story, which shows what Leavitt can do when he turns from soul-searching to self-mockery. Less angst, more fun
You don’t expect it when you start reading it, but somewhere in this wildly-funny-but-secretly-serious romp through the nature of time, history, chance and good and evil, there’s a very sweet love story.
Presented by ABC Customer and You Reviewer Em Angevaare.
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