FRESH MEN: New Voices in Gay Fiction

Compiled by Edmund White, Author, Donald Weise, Editor, Don Weise, Editor , edited by Donald Weise. Carroll & Graf $14 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1421-6

Twenty stories by up-and-coming gay male writers offer vibrant takes on themes ranging from coming out to unrequited obsession. The anthology opens with Vestal McIntyre's "," which follows a mean-spirited freelancer's manipulative relationship with a female boss. Philip Huang contributes a lyrical, poignant portrait of a young woman's sad life ("American Widow"), while Patrick Ryan's "Ground Control" is a brilliant coming-of-age yarn about the bittersweet yearnings of a boy and his older classmate in the 1980s. The best discoveries include Scott Pomfret's "Chicken," a moving portrait of the tense intimacy between an aging gay man and a teenage hitchhiker with "runaway eyes"; Jorge Ignacio Cortinas's engaging, atmospheric "His Five-Year Sentence," about a young Latino shoplifter's life in northern California; and Kevin Reardon's delicately droll office opera "Teamwork." Hearts both young and old soar with ecstasy and are consumed with longing in these irresistible tales. In the book's foreword, White notes that many feel gay fiction has "run its course." This excellent collection offers proof positive to the contrary. (Dec.)

Forecast: The extent to which gay fiction has become part of the mainstream was recently underscored when Alan Hollinghurst's novel The Line of Beauty won the Man Booker prize, but specialized anthologies like this still give new writers useful exposure and should attract fresh attention.

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Discover what to read next