FIRST LOVE/LAST LOVE: New Fiction from Christopher Street by Michael; Charles Ortleb & Thomas Steel--Eds. Denneny

FIRST LOVE/LAST LOVE: New Fiction from Christopher Street

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A weak, generally predictable collection of short stories about gay life, all originally published in Christopher Street magazine. In their introduction, the editors make the claim that gay fiction--due, at least in part, to the 10-year existence of Christopher Street magazine--is as firmly established as black or Jewish fiction. This may be true, but not judging from this current collection, which is uneven at best. The stories by the better-known writers are a disappointment: ""The Crack"" by David Plante is thin and unfocused, both of Andrew Holleran's pieces about AIDS (""Ties"" and ""a House Divided"") are self-pitying and self-indulgent, and James Purdy's stories (""The Candles of Your Eyes,"" ""Some of These Days"") seem like throwaways--he's done far better work. There are several stories about growing up, but the only one which distinguishes itself is John Fox's ""The Superhero,"" a lovely story about a young boy who so yearns for his summer companion that he literally becomes him in his fantasies. ""Frank's Party"" by Robert Ferro is one of the best of the stories set in New York City--in it two men, both of whom have been lovers of the same man, meet high on a terrace above midtown during a party. There's a fine air of menace--will one throw the other off? will someone jump?--but the story ends far too abruptly, without resolving itself. The funniest and most moving tales are by Ethan Mordden. ""Uptown, Downtown: A Tour Through the Gay Metropolis"" follows a New Yorker around as he introduces an out-of-town friend to Manhattan, and ""Interview with the Drag Queen"" (included in Mordden's just-published collection, I've a Feeling We're Not In Kansas Anymore [Kirkus, p, 742]) is the poignant story of a drag queen who tries to tell her young ""interviewer"" what her days of wine and roses were like. With few exceptions, then, a competent but unremarkable and unexciting collection.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1985
Publisher: Putnam