In Another Part of the Forest:: An Anthology of Gay Short Fiction

Alberto Manguel, Author, Craig Stephenson, With Three Rivers Press (CA) $20 (682p) ISBN 978-0-517-88156-9
This laborious anthology posits that, before Stonewall and the emergence of a gay-specific literature, there was already a rich heritage of fiction by gay and non-gay writers ``touching on a gay theme.'' Unfortunately, most of these stories do little more than that. The range of writers is impressive--Francoise Sagan, I. B. Singer, Daphne du Maurier, Hemingway, D. H. Lawrence, James Baldwin, Ann Beattie among them--but the focus is all too frequently on situations rather than on the characters. In Sagan's ``The Unknown Visitor,'' a woman returns from shopping with a friend to find evidence of her husband's gay infidelity, while in William Trevor's ``Torridge,'' an upperclassman in an English boarding school seeking to seduce a younger boy leaves a courtship note under the wrong pillow. And in Hemingway's ``A Simple Enquiry,'' an interested army major interrogates a young adjutant as to his sexual preferences with only indirect reference to homosexuality. In evocative preludes to each story, editors Manguel ( Other Fires ) and Stephenson ( Between Worlds ) make valiant attempts to reconfirm the unity of the collection. However, the volume unintentionally chronicles more clearly how insignificant and tangential the portrayal of gay lives has been in the world literatures of the past. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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