Infidelity

William Rooney, Author
William Rooney, Author Haworth Press $44.95 (220p) ISBN 978-0-7890-0621-9
Paperback - 218 pages - 978-1-56023-946-8
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The story of two young men in love and trying to break into Broadway musicals of the late 1960s comprises the first title in the publisher's new imprint of erotic gay fiction. Tom Clifden, the cynic and occasional hustler from Connecticut, and Hank Carter, a country boy from Indiana, are aspiring actors who meet in New York and soon nudge out Hank's live-in hometown girlfriend, Eunice. Tom narrates the story as he looks back, 30 years later, when Eunice calls to tell him that Hank has died; she wants Tom to contribute to her audio history of struggling actors. As Tom recalls how he and Hank tried to make their relationship work over 16 intensive months, only to be estranged by new lovers, Rooney aspires to more than a purely erotic tale by exploring issues of sexual identity. Tom wrestles throughout the novel with his stereotypically masculine user approach to life, while Hank learns to take more control of the events that threaten to overwhelm him. They both fail, and it's the ambivalence of their feelings about themselves and each other that is most interesting here. Rooney's attempts at setting the mood of the times are halfhearted, however, including an anachronistic reference to Nixon's resignation. In the end, the book reads like a piece of melodramatic commercial fiction with a frustrated desire to be something else, never quite literary yet not steamy enough to be erotica. (Nov.)
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