cover image ANY KIND OF LUCK


William Jack Sibley, . . Kensington, $23 (274pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-766-9

Powered by the same type of giddy, clichéd fluff that is common to so much contemporary gay fiction, Sibley's debut is an energetic, frenzied tale centered around two 30-something gay men. Clu, "a modestly successful actor/director/hand model," and Chris, his vaguely psychic lover of eight years, relocate to "culturally eviscerated" Grit, Tex., from Manhattan to tend to Clu's ailing mother, "prize-winning" Chihuahua breeder Bettie Jean. The shocking announcement of Mother's impending marriage to clergyman Brother Ramirez ignites a culture clash aggravated by the antics of Clu's stereotypical redneck brother Jaston, perpetually pregnant sister Laine and a constant stream of endearingly flamboyant Texans. Spicing up the show is Preston, the blond, muscle-bound son of Oveta Canfield, Grit's resident busybody, who tempts Chris with a sightseeing tour of Texas while Clu is enlisted to direct a silly local production of Agamemnon Ya'll: A Country and Western Musical. Clu halfheartedly bonds with old friends and relatives, many of whom are closet nudists, evidenced by one of the story's more delightful scenarios during a "truth session" in an enormous hot tub. Clu can't suppress his overly defensive tendencies, and every spirited discussion with the local "backward hicks" finds him mounting his gay-rights soapbox—though preachy, he's often right on the money. Sibley's bouncy story line recovers gracefully from these overblown spurts of anger by detailing the dramatics of Clu and Chris' increasingly strained relationship and the temptation to get back to the Manhattan lifestyle they've abandoned. A white-knuckled stage production, a death, a break-up and new beginnings conclude this light, humorous beach book shot through with campy one-liners and the sweet syrup of happy endings. Agent, Irene Kraas; national advertising in gay publications. (Aug.)