Queer Horror for Halloween

interviewIf you’re a fan of the horror genre perhaps you might want to interject a little fear into your reading time. After all, it’s close to Halloween. Want to know what the best gay horror fiction is? There are a few lists you might consult. The first one is on GoodReads and includes some 70 books with titles like “Cowboys & Vampires,” “Wolf at the Door,” “Zombielicious” and works by a great variety of authors. A few years ago, Lambda Literary Review put out a list of what it named “6 of the Scariest Queer Horror Books Ever.” Amazon has its own list of scary gay and lesbian horror with more than 100 titles, including many by Anne Rice. One might also delve into winners of the now-defunct Queer Horror Awards which still as a list on its website. Finally, Barnes & Noble also has a list of horror books for LGBT readers. Check out that list on its website.

Still Cruising in San Francisco

Brontez Purnell's "The Cruising Diaries."

Brontez Purnell’s “The Cruising Diaries.”

In an interview, performer/author Brontez Purnell talks about his latest book, The Cruising Diaries, using, as the Lambda Literary Review puts it, “his own sex life to paint a very vivid portrait of a sex life in the San Francisco Bay Area now.”
The review promises a book that is an honest portrayal of gay life, and especially sexual expression, in today’s culture. Read the interesting interview here.

Brontez Purnell

Brontez Purnell

New Biography Garners Rave Reviews for Telling Tennessee Williams’ Story

If you have ever seen “Suddenly, Last Summer,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” or “The Glass Menagerie,” especially on stage, you’ll want to get your hands on John Lahr’s “Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh,” which is getting rave reviews. You’ll also want to listen to this fascinating interview with the author as a guest on NPR’s “On Point” with Tom Ashbrook. http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/09/25/tennessee-williams-biography-john-lahr

Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams

 

Say Hello, not Goodbye, to Negrón’s “Mundo Cruel”

Luis Negron's "Mundo Cruel."

Luis Negron’s “Mundo Cruel.”

“Goodbye cruel world,” has become a cliche in books and movies when someone is about to leap from a cliff or use some other method to bring about their demise. But readers will want to say hello to Luis Negrón’s “Mundo Cruel,” which has been translated from Spanish into English by Suzanne Jill Levine and won this year’s Lambda Literary Award for general gay fiction.

Set mostly in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Negrón’s stories explore some of the cruelties of life without ever being a downer. In fact, he interjects plenty of humor and sarcasm as he explores what it is like for gays living in the Puerto Rican culture. Not only does he examine the prejudice and bigotry toward gay people on the island, he also shows how homosexuals treat one another, which can also often be cruel.

Negrón starts the book at his most provocative with a short story about “The Chosen One,” a new son of God who lives a promiscuous lifestyle despite his piety. One can only imagine a Christian reader scratching his or her head after reading this seemingly sacrilegious story that drips with irony.

Luis Negron

Luis Negron

Negrón uses all types of narrative structures to drive his stories. Two women of different socio-economic strata gossip over a fence to create the dialogue for an installment titled “So Many: Or On How the Wagging Tongue Sometimes Can Cast a Spell.” One-sided conversations provide the setup and substance for a few stories, including “La Edwin” and “Junito,” the latter about a man who fears for his son growing up in the homophobic atmosphere that surrounds him.

And there are references to the AIDS crisis in the ’80s, including “The Garden,” a  heart-rending, beautiful story about the close bonds created between two people when a mutual loved one is in peril.

There are nine stories in this collection and each has a different viewpoint about the human condition of gays in Puerto Rico. The stuffed dog on the cover is a creepy reminder that cruelty can take many forms, such as the nearly tragic story of an aging gay man who wants to have his beloved pet immortalized by a taxidermist. The goal leads to unexpected consequences that seemly cruelly deserved.

 

 

Sarah Waters' "The Night Watch."

Sarah Waters’ “The Night Watch.”

I had never read a Sarah Waters book but discovered this title when I referred to a list I often turn to when I’m looking for something new to read. What a discovery! Waters has a remarkable talent for revealing her characters’ innermost thoughts, which makes for intriguing reading. The book focuses on four main characters, mostly women, whose lives are coincidentally intertwined during the bombing raids of London in World War II. The book starts from the present and works backward to tell the stories of these characters; and many of the passages, including a harrowing recounting of an unlawful medical procedure that goes awry, are emotional and riveting. I’m looking forward to reading another of this author’s books very soon. 

 

 

 

Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters