Men on Men 2000 : Best New Gay Fiction for the Millennium.

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  • Publication Information:
    Plume 2000.
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  • Physical Description:
    p. ; cm.
  • Series:
    Men on men; no. 8
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LJ Reviews 1999 December #1

Edited by Bergman, a poet, and Woelz, a freelance writer, this diverse if somewhat uneven collection of 20 short stories represents the work of primarily East Coast gay authors. The subtitle, however, seems like a misnomer. Rather than heralding a new age of gay fiction, this collection merely reworks gay stereotypes and themes that have been prevalent since the 1960s--coming out, cruising, and the loss of physical beauty in middle age. A few of the stories do manage to break out of these self-imposed literary closets: several deal with gay parenting (including two that describe breakups of that fragile unit in a way that is as destructive as any that straight parents might face); two people get reflective during a trip to Disneyland; and there is a haunting and dazzlingly descriptive piece by Edmund White set in Venice. Teen desire and the effect of AIDS and HIV on relationships round out the collection. Larger gay collections should probably add this title.--Jeffery Ingram, Newport P.L., OR Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

PW Reviews 1999 December #2

Last year's Men on Men anthology, the seventh in the series, was a model of the form. Editor David Bergman chose some truly good and different rather than truly safe or affirming short fiction. This year, with first-time co-editor and fellow Baltimorean Karl Woelz, the collection seems to be aiming for social rather than literary significance. Many of the tales are quite enjoyable. But none, with one exception Boston writer J.G. Hayes's contribution, "Regular Flattop," the moving story of three teenage friends, part of an Irish neighborhood gang is exciting. Stories of common pain, common loss, common love and common death fulfill a social function (a number of stories about HIV-positive characters, in particular, remind readers that the threat of AIDS is still very real), but few of the entries achieve literary excellence. Nevertheless, contributions by Edmund White, Jim Grimsley, Brian Bouldrey and Jim Provenzano stand out, as do stories by five less established writers. A schoolteacher loses custody of his daughter to his boyfriend in Craig McWhorter's "Silent Protest"; another dispossessed but nonbiological father realizes that "whatever happened would happen between the parents and the grandparents" in William Lane Clark's "Quiet Game." Teenage boys discover love is a bitter business in stories by Kelly McQuain and Bill Gordon; a tragic accident haunts a man on vacation in Marseilles with his lover in "Second Island" by Patrick Ryan. Last year's anthology proved that GayLit could still pack a wallop. This year's proves it can also disappear into the mainstream. And for some, there's comfort in that. QPB selection. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.