Jump to content

Gay Stories

  • entries
    516
  • comments
    3,360
  • views
    26,739

Contributors to this blog

Featured Story: How The Light Gets In

This week we're featuring a story by one of GA's Classic authors, one that isn't quite finished based on the story status (always important to check if you have a preference). Good thing we have a lot of ways to filter stories. Even better than just doing a search for stories, are these great reviews by our very own review team. And today's review of Duncan Ryder's story is by Parker Owens. Let's see what he thought of How The Light Gets In. 

 

How The Light Gets In

Duncan Ryder

Reviewer: Parker Owens

Status: In process (= unfinished)
Word Count: 91,687

The lives of two young men who have known too much darkness in their lives intersect. They and their friends search for relief, and for healing. This is a sequel to the excellent story Everybody’s Wounded, but it can stand alone.

 

How the Light Gets In is the second in a two-part novella. In the first part, Everybody’s Wounded, we meet three of the four central characters in part two. Even so, How the Light Gets In is the more powerful, more compelling of the two halves, perhaps because the reader is given deeper insight into the dark night of hurt which haunts each one. Readers should be warned that this story deals with very problematic subjects: rape and suicide. Ryder writes about these things with considerable and commendable care and compassion for his characters.

 

The two central personalities, Luc and Matt are returning to university in deeply unhappy circumstances. Each is enveloped in his own inky well of gloom. Josh and Scott, students at the same university, are lovers. They, too, have a history of hurt. These four men share interlocking stories and injury and love. The tale unwinds some of these, while each man slowly gravitates through his own ache to that place in the dark where he realizes he is not alone. Ryder shifts viewpoints deftly to describe and develop their intersections, and these drive the story forward.

 

One might be forgiven for feeling that one is reading or watching a French film. Conversation, both intimate and general, propels the plot onward at many points. This is not to say there aren’t dramatic moments of action; there are. Yet it is not these instances we recall, but how these young men handle, discuss, and interpret them. Growth comes with reflection and dialogue. It is a subtle way to tell a story, but effective, and very much in keeping with the way real people recover from deep injury.  

 

The growth and depth in the central characters is an abiding strength of the novella. Each has many facets, each has multiple layers. These young men, as well as their circle of friends, are well drawn without forcing too much detail upon the reader. One can easily call each person in the story to mind, but variations in what readers invent are certain. It is a trait of good writing to allow the reader to imagine, and Ryder does this especially well.

 

However one imagines them, Ryder gives us understanding to connect with these men individually. One cannot help but care for them and sympathize with them as they make their way toward something more hopeful.

 

How the Light Gets In is not without its flaws. There are times when characters respond to situations with maturity and wisdom quite unexpected in young undergraduate students. They seem older than their years, perhaps because of the burden each one carries. In addition, readers complained that the final chapter did not feel like an ending. A number of comments expressed a need for more, for some definite feeling of closure.

 

Ryder does not give readers a happy-ever-after denouement. Instead, we get a far deeper moment in which darkness is transcended by the ever brightening and broadening cracks in its curtain. In this way, Ryder connects us to the quote from Leonard Cohen’s lyrics which provided the title for the story.

 

This was one the first things I read on GA. Its quality made me return to explore further. I hope other readers will find this classic tale still compelling, and that it still sings its song and weaves its spell for many more to come.

 

Category: Fiction   Genres: Drama, Romance  Tags: young adult, adult, gay, university   Rating: Mature

  • Like 10


7 Comments


Recommended Comments

Excellent review, Parker. I am intrigued. :) 

  • Like 3

Share this comment


Link to comment

Thanks very much Gary! It was one of the first stories I read on GA. Later, I happened to visit the area where the story might have occurred. It was haunting to do so, in a way.

  • Like 3

Share this comment


Link to comment

I read the first part of the story years ago now.  I never did start on the second part because that dreaded “in-process” status chased me away.  There’s quite a few such stories here on GA, where an author never finished for whatever reason.  

  • Like 4

Share this comment


Link to comment
1 minute ago, spikey582 said:

I read the first part of the story years ago now.  I never did start on the second part because that dreaded “in-process” status chased me away.  There’s quite a few such stories here on GA, where an author never finished for whatever reason.  

 

Dont let this particular ‘in-process’ scare you away. This story could be finished, or there might be more. That’s part of its  beauty, in my opinion. 

  • Like 5

Share this comment


Link to comment

This review makes me want to immediately read this story.  I'll add it to the ever-increasing list.  Great job, Parker. :)  

  • Like 3
  • Love 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Thank you, Val. The lists get longer and longer, don’t they? 

  • Like 3
  • Love 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

I recall being completely fascinated by the first book in the series, even though it was tough going at times. I think I'll have to read this one again, because I don't really remember much. Great review, Parker.

  • Like 3
  • Love 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..