Books by Larry Duplechan

CAPTAIN SWING by Larry Duplechan
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

A gay man finds the pain of visiting his dying homophobic father eased by some cousinly love, in this latest from Duplechan (Tangled Up in Blue, 1989, etc.) Los Angeles jazz singer Johnnie Ray Rousseau is a ``thirty- something-year-old black queer widow-man'' who hasn't sung a note since his lover Keith was killed in a hit-and-run; a year later, he's still having nightmares. Now he's experiencing even more trauma as he visits his cancer-stricken father Lance in rural Louisiana, their original home. Lance had always preferred his manly son David to the effeminate Johnnie; their relationship worsened after David's early death (a drive-by shooting), and nothing has changed, as Lance in the hospital again rejects Johnnie, who endlessly replays the pain. ``I can't believe I'm going over this territory again,'' he says. Nor can the reader, whose scant sympathy for the trembling, weeping, self-dramatizing Johnnie diminishes further when he shows a lack of respect for his cousin Athena, in whose house he's staying. Athena has long accepted Johnnie's gayness (the two share a ``spiritual bond'') but will not accept that her son Nigel is gay; the attractive 18-year- old has pressed himself on Johnnie, and the older man has swiftly if guiltily yielded to temptation and is soon ``head-over- butthole'' in love. Bringing news of Lance's death, Athena discovers the two in bed and goes berserk; meanwhile, the family's formidable Aunt Lucille keeps the peace long enough for Johnnie to sing at his father's funeral before he returns to L.A., reluctantly letting Nigel go and failing to make peace with Athena. Duplechan's women, whom he consistently draws better than his men, give some solidity to what is otherwise a silly and superficial tale. Read full book review >
TANGLED LIP IN BLUE by Larry Duplechan
Released: March 18, 1989

It's hard to imagine a fluffy novel about AIDS, but, here, Duplechan (Blackbird Singing, 1987) offers just that. Los Angeles, 1985: for Maggie and Daniel Sullivan—married only a year—all seems to be going swimmingly. Handsome Daniel is doing quite well in entertainment law, which he turned to after jettisoning an unsuccessful acting career. Maggie is an aerobics instructor who has just discovered that she's pregnant. The only dark cloud on their horizon is that their absolute best friend—gay romance-writer Crockett Miller—has also just made a discovery: he has ARC (AIDS Related Complex). Maggie is properly shocked and sympathetic—but Dan turns green: it seems that way back in 1978, when both he and Crockett were budding actors, they had an affair. Dan races to his doctor for an antibody test, which turns out to be negative, but Maggie finds out about the old affair—and heads home for mother. It takes a miscarriage to bring her and Dan back together. There remains only Maggie's tearful reconcilation with Crockett: "Oh fuck, Maggie, don't cry," he tells her. "I'm not worth shit when women start crying." Predictable and simplistic. Read full book review >