cover image Hometowns: 9

Hometowns: 9

. Dutton Books, $21.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93353-3

Less about geography than the need to belong, these essays by 28 gay writers about their sense of home elucidate the adolescent disenfranchisement of gay males. Many of the writers migrated from ``little towns that were on the way to somewhere else,'' as George S. Snyder observes in ``North East, Pennsylvania'' to larger urban communities where, writes Philip Gambone in ``Wakefield, Massachusetts,'' they can ``put together lives and families in new and different ways.'' Stephen Saylor's need to give his own small town a pseudonym (``Amethyst, Texas'') stands as a paradigm of the discomforts of gay identity. Locations range from cliched gay meccas to the prefabricated uranium processing town of Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the ethnic ghettos of Mexican Gardenland in Sacramento and Cuban Little Miami, where, for writers of ethnic or religious minorities, being gay only compounds their lack of entitlement. These thoughtful, moving recollections about coming home rather than coming out offer readers guidance and affirmation. BOMC and QPB selections. (Oct.)