Michael Quadland. Red Hen (CDC, dist.), $18.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-59709-502-0
Set in post-Vietnam–era New York, Quadland’s moving novel opens with the fastidious Henry (Hank) Preston, a sperm donor who has a long history of taking care of others, particularly women, having finished a tour of duty in Vietnam. Hank has moved to New York City and found a job shelving books at the Strand. Karen, an actress who’s been inseminated with Hank’s sperm, seeks him out even though it’s against the rules. Hank struggles with memories of the ambiguous relationship he had with Ted, a soldier friend who died before his eyes, and current attention from Joey/Josey Maxima, a transsexual who has fallen in love with him. Quadland (That Was Then) switches between the perspectives of his main characters, which proves jarring until the reader gets used to their different voices. A story of coincidences and the connections that emerge from desire and biology, the novel indelibly marks the passions and failings of its characters. Agent: The Spieler Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 03/01/2012
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!