T.A. Webb's Reviews > King Perry

King Perry by Edmond Manning
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Mar 16, 2012

it was amazing
Read from March 15 to 16, 2012

Don't read any further if you don't like personal information, potential spoilers or rambling musings.

On a quiet evening in 1999, investment banker Perry Mangin attends an art show in San Francisco. He's a nice looking man, not super hot but not a slouch.

Vin Vanbly is also at the event. He's a mechanic from Minnesota, in town on vacation. Vin's a bear - a stocky, hairy guy - and soon he and Perry notice each other. Vin waits, and soon Perry comes over where he's studying the paintings.

The two men flirt and converse about little things. Then Vin begins to talk about the artwork, specifically a few pieces by a local artist. His knowledge of the pieces is profound, his insights piercing to Perry. As a crowd forms and Vin draws everyone around him in to the story behind these works, Perry reacts. And leaves.

When he checks in with the gallery the next day, Perry is surprised to find a note left for him. The note invites him to meet Vin Friday evening on Pier 33 and spend the weekend with him, submitting. The note promises it is not a S&M thing, but will forever change his life. It invites him to remember who he was always meant to be. But most importantly, it invites him to "Remember the King".

Will Perry show? What does Vin have planned for him? And, what do the promises in the note mean for Perry?

A few words before I dive into this review. As I've posted in another place, this has been a rough few weeks for me and I've been tired and flirting with burn out. I review a lot, and have been stalled on that front, as well as in other areas. And, as usual, when I have a problem or issue, the Universe has a way of throwing the answer in my face in the most improbable ways.

Because this book - I'm rarely at a loss for words, but this book is an answered prayer.

Edmond Manning, bless him, has written a book of rare depth, beauty and importance. This work is all about the pains of the heart, finding ones true self and connecting with the mysteries of life. It is funny yet serious, deep yet easy, and heart breaking yet heart warming.

If read with an open heart, this gem of a book has the power of healing, the serenity of grace, and the security of a father's hug. It's about being powerful and connected and alive.

I really don't want to give away too much of the plot and substance of this novel, but some points are important.

Perry has been unable to really develop a lasting connection with another human being, and is stuck. In some ways, he's sliding under the waves. When the invitation to join Vin for the weekend comes, some part of him - the part longing for connection and openness - recognizes what might happen.

Vin is an enigma. He's a mechanic, a visitor to the city on vacation. But he knows things about Perry he shouldn't, thinks around corners, and acts like a madman. He has a plan and an agenda, and he fascinates the whole way through this story.

I don't know if this tale resonates so loudly with me because I'm a man, and the author is male also. At the risk of sounding sexist, this story is written by a man, about a man. But the truths and issues are so universal, they transcend gender.

When I finished this book, I felt...alive again. Sad, powerful, energized, loved, open. And with the need to call my Dad.

I felt 'kinged'. I am Tom, the Bear King.

Buy this book, carve out a quiet few hours, and open your heart to it. Let me know what King or Queen you are.

King Tom
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03/15/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by K.Z. (new)

K.Z. Snow "I am Tom, the Bear King."

Indeed you are. <3

This book has intrigued me from the first time I heard about it. I love seeing envelope-pushers in the genre!

T.A. Webb This one is fantastic. I finished it last night and HAD to get the review up before the weekend. It's one of those books that moved me, and I want to share with everyone.

message 3: by Alby Krebs (new) - added it

Alby Krebs Tom, I want to let you know that I really appreciate your reviews and your good-hearted comments. I have been facing burnout too, so I know what feels like. Please know that your readers do appreciate the time you put into your reviews. I hadn't heard of this book, but it sounds fascinating. I'll pick it up. Best, Alby

T.A. Webb Alby, thanks. It helps to have encouraging words. I haven't had a real vacation in three or four years, and things have just hit a logjam. It's nice to know I am appreciated somewhere!


message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Black Thanks for the great review, and all your thoughtful and well considered comments. Sorry to hear about the burnout. I fled from my last job, which I loved right up till the point it was about to kill me, and didn't work for seven months- don't go that route! Though I did enjoy the rest.
I liked your comment about this being a book about a man by a man. I've wrestled with this issue quite a bit- I think some writers try to discover their characters through writing, and so write about people different from themselves. Jim Harrison said he would not write a native american character because people who have been voiceless deserve their own voices. I may be paraphrasing. Anyway, I've wondered why I think I can write from the POV of people of different genders and race than myself. The answer I've come up with, and hopefully I'm not rationalizing, is that love is universal, a human trait that transends most barriers. Love makes us all from the same planet.
Hope you're having a wonderful Sunday morning- Sarah

T.A. Webb Thanks, Sarah. And I agree - love is universal. This particular story, I think Edmond being a man made it resonate with me!

message 7: by Angel (new)

Angel Martinez Tom wrote: "Thanks, Sarah. And I agree - love is universal. This particular story, I think Edmond being a man made it resonate with me!"

I understand what you're saying, Tom - we can love all sorts of fiction but there is something about the "someone like me" factor that has that extra effect of resonant frequencies. (I can read and enjoy a hundred brilliant works on the craft and struggle of writing, but only Virginia Woolf resonated for me.)

message 8: by Edmond (new)

Edmond Manning I'm a little late to the game here...but I wanted to chime in and say, THANK YOU to Tom for his big love of the book. It has really meant a lot to me to be loved so well by this man. I'm truly grateful.

I love the ensuing conversation here about whether a person can write about love outside their experience. I appreciate both sides - I like what this gent Jim Harrison says about "the voiceless deserving their own voices..." that's well said.

On the other hand, I think that when a writer tries to understand and love characters significantly different from themselves, it's another form of loving empathy and the world needs that. I have felt myself enriched by reading a woman's perspective on M/M relationships.

I really appreciate the conversation about this topic. I am spending a little time pondering how far I would go to write about a character so different from me... Hmmmmm.

T.A. Webb I think, in my humble opinion, empathy can take a writer anywhere he or she needs to go. It would be interesting to know how far a writer would be willing to go, though. It must be heartbreaking to stretch into some areas.

julio it can be fun. you filter all the media you've ever consumed (on... pirates, let's say) and you use them to design people who are not very like you at all.

it's when they're like you a lot that it's hard, i find.

message 11: by T.A. (new) - rated it 5 stars

T.A. Webb Julio-Alexi wrote: "it can be fun. you filter all the media you've ever consumed (on... pirates, let's say) and you use them to design people who are not very like you at all.

it's when they're like you a lot that it..."

That's the thing that screws with me the worst as I kind of went from reader to reviewer to writer. How much was me, how much was research and where did the two meet. And how much it hurt sometimes. But mostly, I find joy in it, pain or not.

julio i've only done it once—in fiction that was explicitly not memoir or nonfic essay.

it was hard as fuck.

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