cover image Winter's Light

Winter's Light

John Preston. University Press of New England, $29.95 (199pp) ISBN 978-0-87451-674-6

Preston, who died of AIDS-related illness in 1994, was a prolific editor of the Advocate, novelist (Franny, the Queen of Provincetown) and essayist. His was a prominent and brave if unpolished voice in gay literature. The pieces collected here--autobiographical sketches, polemical essays and tributes to the acceptance gays have come to enjoy in his native New England--are blunt and courageous. There is a memorable essay about the patrician, nonagenarian AIDS activist Franny Peabody; affecting interviews with gay New Englanders that are part of an uncompleted oral history of people with AIDS; and several pieces about Portland, Maine's surprising hospitality to gays and lesbians. The last section, entitled ``Letters from Maine,'' a series of strident polemics against homophobia, is composed of less compelling forays into familiar territory. (Sept.)