Cyclizen explores the class divisions of metropolitan life, the angst and pleasures of casual sex, and offers a darkly comic take on gay culture and relationships.
As with his previous novels, Provenzano weaves a deeper story, that of the demise of the tribe of centaurs. With clever symbolism, names and plot devices, he retells a mythic tale in a contemporary urban setting.
A journalist in LGBT media for three decades, and the guest curator of Sporting Life, the world's first gay athletics exhibit, he also wrote the award-winning syndicated Sports Complex column for ten years. An Editor at the Bay Area Reporter, his seventh novel, Finding Tulsa, was published in September 2020.
That was a fun read. Not that I was surprised--I've read most of Provenzano's other books and have enjoyed them all--but still, you never know, especially when you're going back a few years to an author's earlier work.
Provenzano has a way with words. At first he seemed to be trying really hard with his turn of a phrase and smart wordplay. In fact, I thought he might be trying a little too hard, but then I had to admit: it works; he's pretty good at it. Very quickly he settled into the prose as he wrote, or perhaps I did as I read. Either way, it's a smart read.
The book isn't heavy on plot, for the most part. It follows bike messenger Kent as he lives his life as a cute gay guy in New York City in the 90s. This book seemed, from my memory anyway, to be more sexually graphic than Provenzano’s other work. That's not a bad thing, by any means, but it surprised me a little. Considering the time and place of the story and this cast of characters, however, it makes sense.
Fresh, bawdy, and as zippy as a bike ride across the island of Manhattan. Nobody writes like Jim Provenzano; passionate & political, with a wry sense of wordplay that cuts to the nerve of unfiltered feeling rather than obscuring it. I’m honestly amazed that this is a self-published venture. Sure, it’s a bit wordy and a bit plotless, but superior to plenty of queer novels I’ve read. Plus if it takes place in New York, 90% of the time I’m in.