photo by Keith Ferris

Lance Ringel

A journalist and writer for four decades, Lance Ringel has penned five novels and three plays. At Vassar College, where he has worked for 15 years, he served as principal writer for Vassar Voices, a staged reading honoring the college’s sesquicentennial. It debuted at Lincoln Center, starring Meryl Streep, Lisa Kudrow and Frances Sternhagen and subsequently toured America and London. Ringel also wrote the narrative for At Home in the World, a music-and-words collaboration directed by John Caird that recently played across Japan and will be performed in New York  ...See more >

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American soldier Tommy Flowers deals with his unexpected attraction to English Pvt. David Pearson and the horrors of World War I in this debut historical novel.

In June 1918, Flowers, newly arrived in France, follows Pearson from a tavern, apologizing for his fellow American soldiers’ anti-British remarks. The young men, both around 18, take shelter from rain in a stable. They hold each other for warmth, then report to their units in the morning. Tommy keeps seeking out his new friend and also befriends Jamie Colbeck, an older Australian assigned to American forces. He soon begins soldier duties in the trenches. Later, David stalks off when Jamie, who’s bitter about British bungling at Gallipoli, speculates how David’s soldier brothers really died in the war. Tommy again follows David, dodging dogs and a swooping airplane, and is drawn to kiss him. Still later, while helping Jamie clean up the tavern following a soldiers’ scuffle, Tommy and Nicole, niece of the proprietress, both virgins, run off to have sex, which displeases Jamie, who’s also attracted to Nicole. Then David is injured, and Tommy—unaware of his friend’s injuries—endures friendly fire in the battle of Hamel. Afterward, Jamie rewards Tommy with travel to London, where David is recuperating. Tommy accompanies David on the latter’s visit to his family, where they consummate their relationship, vowing love but also secrecy as they return to the front. They join up for a dangerous mission to transport an injured officer and, by novel’s end, experience more joy and ultimate heartbreak. Ringel packs a remarkable amount of flavor and detail into this debut work. In addition to providing a compelling love story, he serves up gripping depictions of the war’s horrible, often absurd battles and the male camaraderie and army bureaucracy that accompanied them. While some trysts stretch the imagination—lovemaking in an occupied ambulance?—Ringel has created an overall appealing romance with memorable characters, particularly open-hearted Iowan Tommy, “a lad who speaks his mind, and keeps the rest of us honest—maybe even human.”

Accomplished, touching historical fiction.


ALL AT ONCE (Unpublished)

In 1987 New York City, married couple Lois and Pete and their best friend Dan find their lives unraveling amid shifting sexual alliances in this fast-paced, breezy novel.


In the midst of New York's AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s, Gary Gaines, still deeply in mourning for his lover Becker Barnes who died of a heart attack during a pickup basketball game, encounters the possibility of new love in Rick Fennell, a waiter at an oddball East Village restaurant. But Gary is 35 and Rick is 22, and Gary is reluctant to start anew -- until a sudden illness sends him to his parents' Florida home to recuperate.

LILA'S STORY (Unpublished)
Novella, fiction

In Pittsburgh in the mid 1970s, a lonely, widowed landlady's life is changed when a young college man becomes her tenant and she becomes involved in his life, uncovering an unexpected secret.


Lance Ringel on Neighborhood News