Rooney's Shorts

William Rooney, Author
William Rooney, Author Haworth Press $14.95 (138p) ISBN 978-0-7890-0719-3
Paperback - 138 pages - 978-1-56023-150-9
Hardcover - 137 pages - 978-1-56023-954-3
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Primarily gay male protagonists go drinking, looking for love and exploring Provincetown and Florida, in this first collection of short stories. Some of the 12 tales tackle sexual coming-of-age, the question of mutable sexual identity and the gay community's diverse population. With equal dexterity in meditative and slapstick modes, Rooney takes readers to various eras from the late '60s to the fantasy future. In ""Outlaws,"" a reclusive artist compares himself to the stealthy coyotes that share off-season Provincetown with him. In a more comic vein, a trio of men mourn the untimely passing of an alcoholic, bar-dancing pug dog in ""Marilyn: The Last Performance."" Other highlights include ""The Moon Again,"" an associative interior monologue brought on by insomnia, and ""The Shih Tzu Master's Thermos,"" a character study of a flamboyant Provincetown eccentric. From time to time, Rooney strains in the development of a character's motivation, most noticeably in ""Cocksucker with a Gun,"" where urban tension fosters a violent, vigilante act, and in the opening story, where a boy's emerging sexuality and disdain for a new stepfather are expressed in unexpected and implausible sexual audacity. The weak links, however, are few in this otherwise thoughtful, entertaining and original collection. (Feb.)
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