Identity and Difference

Peter Weltner, Author
Peter Weltner, Author Crossing Press $8.95 (164p) ISBN 978-0-89594-421-4
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Two tales of gay men alternate in this novel about love and identity. Darryl, a 17-year-old from a working-class family, can't stop thinking about his brother Glenn, whose suicide is a mystery no one wants to solve. Darryl virtually assumes his brother's identity, moving into his apartment, wearing his clothes, resolving an ambiguous relationship with Glenn's girlfriend, and ultimately forcing the truth about his brother's hidden life to emerge. In the other story, Preston, a man of wealth and leisure, warily begins a monogamous relationship with Jim, a fellow Southerner who seems so perfect that Preston is afraid their affair is doomed. Preston attempts to achieve a state of romance while also restraining his natural cynicism about love, which he defines as ``just a poor compromise between desire and fear.'' The two stories never connect, but they share common themes, of men learning to love other men while still maintaining a positive sense of individual identity, ``to be both of us and something else, too.'' The plots, about coming out and falling in love, are conventional and lacking in humor, but Weltner's writing is at times perceptive and graceful. Weltner wrote a book of stories, Beachside Entries/Specific Ghosts. (Sept.)
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