ANDREW AND JOEY

Jamie James, Author
Jamie James, Author . Kensington $23 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7582-0106-5
Reviewed on: 01/07/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-7582-0107-2
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A year's worth of melodramatic correspondence between friends, family and lovers comprises travel writer James's pedestrian first novel. It consists of e-mails to, from and about Andrew Tan and Joey Breaux, whose 14-year relationship relocates from Greenwich Village to Indonesia when Joey receives a grant to create a dance production in Bali. Asian spitfire Andrew, ever the doting boyfriend, follows with a trepidation he keeps to himself, but soon admits his reservations to flamboyant mutual friend and theater critic Phyllis. It's not long before Joey beds Wayan, a 19-year-old Balinese dancer in his troupe, and shacks up with him in spite of his time-tested romance with Andrew. Once news of the affair is leaked into cyberspace, the scornful opinions from parents, friends and several industry advisers flood the in-box. And the drama is compounded by Joey's decision to present a man/boy love-themed dance production based on the controversial life of Walter Spies, an early 20th-century German choreographer. Can Joey pull off the contentious production, garner fame and the beginnings of a reputable career, and still have time to mend his relationship with Andrew? Will readers stick around to find out? The gossipy antics and jumble of Web addresses multiply in the novel's second half, and it all wears thin long before the perky protagonists have a chance to make up or break up, while heading for the unconventionally rebellious ending. Though James's well-intentioned effort has some worthy moments—usually courtesy of Phyllis—it's really just a gay beach book way out of season. (Feb. 12)

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