The Language We Use Up Here and Other Stories

Philip Gambone, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-525-93311-3
Most of the characters in this impressive first collection are in their 30s, struggling with long-term relationships and trying to deal with the long, uninterrupted stretch of adulthood ahead of them. Though the characters are also gay, these stories aren't about the fact of homosexuality or coming out, but rather about the unique problems these men face as they approach midlife without benefit of institutions available to others, such as marriage. In the title story, set like the rest in Boston, Robert, a white, ``good-intentioned'' liberal, makes a desperate but ``politically correct'' effort to free Bunkie, an inexperienced, black 20-year-old newly arrived from Alabama, of the influence of his flamboyant uncle. Similarly, in ``Initiating Him,'' middle-aged Marty befriends a confused younger man, recalling his own initiation into a world of others like himself: ``I wanted to dump the entire cornucopia of our history and culture onto his lap.'' ``Saying the Truth'' subtly probes an overpowering subject, AIDS, with plenty of emotion, none of it cheap or sentimental. With these well-drawn and well-chosen lives, Gambone helps move fiction about gays out from under the limiting rubric of ``gay literature.'' As with all good writing, these stories focus on the particular as a way to explore the universal. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 257 pages - 978-0-452-26816-6
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