cover image Full Circle

Full Circle

Michael Thomas Ford. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $23 (422pp) ISBN 978-0-7582-1057-9

Following his two previous engaging gay romances (Last Summer and Looking for It), Lambda Award-winner Ford brings loquacious elan to a novel with more heft. This tale of adolescent lust, unrequited love, fumbled friendship and domestic contentment arcs across five decades: Ned Brummel and Jack Grace, best friends since their 1950s boyhoods, have been estranged for years when the imminent death (heart attack, not AIDS) of Andy Kowalski, the charismatic cad they both fell for during college, draws them back together. The trio's lives, recounted in lengthy flashbacks, intertwine somewhat melodramatically through the years: Ned and Andy serve together in Vietnam in the '60s, Ned shares a Castro-neighborhood apartment with Jack and Andy in the sex-drenched '70s, and all three meet again in New York as AIDS ravages the gay community through the '80s-before an accretion of heartbreak and bitterness drive them apart. The characters' many brushes with homosexual history-Harvey Milk trolling for votes in gay bars, the unfurling of the first Rainbow Flag, the sexual energy of early ACT UP meetings-will resonate with gay readers.