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WL's Mainstream Gay Book Reviews

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Just a collection of mainstream Gay books reviews, mostly Romance novels with a few Mystery, Fantasy, and an occasional Science Fiction story

I'll try something new, no one writes book reviews continuously on GA for mainstream gay fiction. In the past, there were few novels ever published, but there are currently tens of thousands books. As amateur writers we should acknowledge what we feel about how our peers and contemporaries think about Gay fiction. I am not the final word on these books, this is just my opinion and readers may disagree with my points.

I started some of this with 2 entries in my blog, so I'll re-post my first reviews here and continue to publish reviews of books I read weekly

Copyright © 2021 W_L; All Rights Reserved.

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I read Maurice when it was first published  in 1971 after Forester had died and about 60 years after it was written. After he died and after 60 years.  I don't blame him for hiding. He wrote it less than 20 years after Oscar Wilde went to prison.  Even today there are situations where the closet is the safest choice although it distorts any other relationship. Despite much progress in recent years I remain wary that the veneer of rational civilization is very thin. 

I would put Mary Renault's  The Charioteer published in Britain  1953 and US 1959 as the first positive "main stream" Gay novel. It is a WWII novel about soldiers and sailors that skirts the tragic ending right up to the final pages.  She had a successful career after its publication with ancient Greek historical novels including Gay characters which allowed  President Kennedy to say she was his favorite author.

Although many might discount them, I would put Richard Amory's  Song of the Loon   late 1960's trilogy as perhaps the most widely read gay positive books of that era.

  

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45 minutes ago, Connor Lee said:

I read Maurice when it was first published  in 1971 after Forester had died and about 60 years after it was written. After he died and after 60 years.  I don't blame him for hiding. He wrote it less than 20 years after Oscar Wilde went to prison.  Even today there are situations where the closet is the safest choice although it distorts any other relationship. Despite much progress in recent years I remain wary that the veneer of rational civilization is very thin. 

I would put Mary Renault's  The Charioteer published in Britain  1953 and US 1959 as the first positive "main stream" Gay novel. It is a WWII novel about soldiers and sailors that skirts the tragic ending right up to the final pages.  She had a successful career after its publication with ancient Greek historical novels including Gay characters which allowed  President Kennedy to say she was his favorite author.

Although many might discount them, I would put Richard Amory's  Song of the Loon   late 1960's trilogy as perhaps the most widely read gay positive books of that era.

  

Thanks for reading my review of Maurice. I still favor Maurice over The Charioteers, probably because Maurice, Alec, and Clive have a fully formed/complex relationship dynamic. That's one thing I like about the book, it explores relationships and various sexuality in same sex lovers. I think E.M Forster truly considered the concept of Clive being sexually fluid, it's a very modern concept for a book written in the early 20th century. It's a type of sexuality that is not quite assured gay or bisexual, nor ever happily heterosexual (he doesn't seem to love his wife either). Forster basically charted out the complexity of same sex love between men, he envisioned that's multi-layered. In the realm of gay romance fiction, I read a lot of stuff that I can draw direct lines back to his novel (or the movie made from his novel).

I do agree Civilization has very thin skin, when it comes to people with predilections that do not conform to standards.

On other authors, I feel some early gay fiction writers are rated too highly from the pre-Stonewall era like Gore Vidal, when his City and Pillar basically painted gay men so negatively in his novel. Yes, he wrote one of the earliest post-war Gay fiction novels, but he did it with a message that denounced homosexual love, something he himself enjoyed. He explained it away in later decades, but I am not a big fan of that famous novel. There's a reason why I chose not to review it, I'd be tempted to give him 1 rating out of 5 for doing what he did in the novel.

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