A dense and erotic gay debut novel that intimately captures one man’s grievances in the wake of an ex-lover’s death.
Kevin Considine is the lost middle-aged protagonist who, at the start of the book, has come to Fire Island, an oasis for the gay community, mourning Nathan Barr’s death. Kevin has been charged with cleaning up one of Nathan’s summer homes, and in the process of sorting and throwing out Nathan’s possessions –all while bingeing on alcohol, drugs and â€œtricks” to fill the void he feels within–Kevin revisits and purges his own memories. FitzGerald fluidly guides readers through time, showing how Kevin’s abusive childhood in Ireland, traumatic coming of age and coming out in America, and promiscuous life in New York shaped the crestfallen alcholic and sex addict readers meet on Fire Island. The novel is divided into three parts, following the three-act structure of a classic play, and FitzGerald relies heavily on theater to tell this story. Kevin has spent his life performing, unable to reconcile his sexuality with his religious upbringing, or his hunger for sex with his desire for companionship. Members of the New York gay community of the â€˜60s and â€˜70s have been performing, too–some are hiding in the closet, some are hiding behind drag, still others are hiding behind empty sex. Performances come crashing down in the early â€˜80s with the devastating onset of AIDS. Nathan is sick, Kevin is sick, friends die, an era ends. Naturally, in this, the book’s climactic moment, FitzGerald delves into â€¦ the Irish Civil War? It’s a bizarre and distracting plotline that takes Kevin to Ireland, where he learns about his family and country, and bonds with his aunt, before returning to take care of Nathan during his final days. FitzGerald’s attempt to fuse Ireland’s history with Kevin’s personal narrative, and that of the gay community at large, comes off as a self-conscious attempt to write the Great Gay and Irish American Novel.
Intelligent and juicy, but far too crowded.