Derison’s debut literary novel follows Max Bredman through a journey of self-discovery, love and homosexual eroticism.
Max has just enough insight to know what he wants, but not how to get there. His memorable story begins at the tail end of a trip through Europe as he bids a somber farewell to his lover, Christopher Rienzi. On the flight to New York, Max’s sulking is interrupted by the enigmatic actor Justin Conrad, a man with his own engaging past. Justin’s charm and sly mannerisms win Max over immediately, though his heart still remains with Christopher in Europe. That doesn’t get in the way of a heated sensual rendezvous in the plane’s cramped bathroom, however, in what is to be the first encounter between these two passionate men. Despite additional intimacies with Justin, Max eventually comes to terms with his love for Christopher. While a number of characters, at times too many, are mentioned within the novel, teen idol Donny Finn stands out as an appealing highlight. Like Kendall McKenna’s recent Brothers in Arms, Derison writes with a sense of truth often lacking in gay literature, particularly those with a focus on eroticism over compelling plot structure. Derison seamlessly integrates sex into the story. The novel strives to bring a sense of insight to the lives of gay men, illuminating the humanity of the characters through clever dialogue and intriguing situations. This is best exemplified by Max’s work with Donny, for whom he writes scripts and serves as an often unwilling boy-toy. Though at times slow in getting to the point, the novel’s grasp of human behavior and hot-button political issues like same-sex marriage keeps the scenes invigorating and animated.
An insightful, challenging addition to the noble ranks of gay literature.