Brogan’s (A Time To Live, 1997, etc.) bi-friendly novel explores the postmodern world of sexual ambiguity through the eyes of a young, yet jaded, gay sportswriter.
Nico Gonzalez has an unbridled attraction to straight men—or rather, outwardly straight men. He believes that every male possesses some form of yearning for other men; however, he also acknowledges that “he might have picked these particular guys knowing they could take closeness only so far.” At the start of the novel, his best friend and lover Bobby Sangthong breaks up with him, admitting that his hyper-religious parents have been pressuring him to marry a woman and have children. Nico holds a grudge against Bobby for not being true to his gay self, but tries to forgive him. Luckily, and conveniently, Nico’s best friend, Brianna, introduces him to Shane, a handsome, career-oriented programmer at Microsoft. He’s clean, organized and wealthy, yet modest, and Nico feels almost unworthy in his presence, as he lives in a dirty apartment (nicknamed “Plato’s Cave”) and actively plans on quitting his day job as a sportswriter. Their blooming relationship is tested when Nico unexpectedly befriends Grady Jackson: a sports-loving, girlfriend-having, sarong-wearing hunk whose sexuality is cloudy and undefinable. Nico is sick of falling for men who ultimately leave him for women, yet he can’t help but detect their mutual attraction. Meanwhile, Brianna argues with Nico that the nature of intimacy is malleable and fluid. Throughout the novel, Brogan examines the intriguing, often confusing human tendency to confine others with labels. Nico gives the story the unique perspective of a gay man who doesn’t accept the idea of bisexuality, and the author develops his character exquisitely. Despite Nico’s desire for clear categories, he contradicts himself with his own lust for experimentation: “Tonight simply became a question of drawing on their already extensive repertoire of previously established possibilities, extensive enough so that there was also the uncertainty, which Nico loved, of what would come next.” Brogan also effectively uses the city of Seattle, giving his forward-thinking, pleasure-seeking characters an expansive environment in which to grow. Overall, this novel is highly recommended for readers interested in conversational commentary on contemporary sexuality, with an added twist of dark humor.
A hip, hilarious and intelligent novel that examines the gray areas of sexuality.