An earnest account of the author's quest for a rare kind of relationship: intimate friendship between men at midlife....

READ REVIEW

MEN AND FRIENDSHIP

An earnest account of the author's quest for a rare kind of relationship: intimate friendship between men at midlife. Miller, a former Esalen director, claims to have interviewed nearly a thousand men; nonetheless the book mainly consists of his journal entries over a three-year period. He begins to seek out male acquaintances as possible friends after a painful divorce and a job change, and his candidates tend to be in the throes of similar upheavals. He has lunch with Harry, who's juggling wife, girlfriend, million-dollar family business, and a yen to play jazz. A moment of silence seems to bode an intimate connection--but Harry's too busy for many more lunches. (""I discovered that friends and friendship just weren't as important as the other items on Harry's agenda."") Abroad, Miller discovers that European males have as strong a fear of homosexuality as their American counterparts. (He simply can't believe, either, that people will take a book on ""Men and Friendship"" for a book on homosexuality.) But in time Miller learns from the women he knows (""You've got to up the ante,"" one advises), swallows his pride, and makes a more open case of his yen for potential friends. Gradually, breakthroughs come: one male acquaintance writes to propose a friendship. And interviewees demonstrate that male friendship can exist--one retains a friend from childhood, one looks after the child of a dead friend. By the end of three years, Miller, remarried, concludes that it can be done if you give it your all--and is very glad he tried. Despite some lapses into mawkish prose (""With a male friend, we experience a serene excitement, a softening that thaws the shoulders""), Miller does generate sympathy as he tests some of the pitfalls first-hand.

Pub Date: April 6, 1983

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1983