The many stories featured in this volume of Best Gay Stories focus on what we, as gay men have in common, what underlies and nourishes the roots of all that fabulous diversity. Stories about our shared experience of those oh so troubling and conflicted pleasures: desire, longing and love. This is not in itself all that remarkable given one is a gay man—fundamentally—because one desires other men. Desire is constituent of our identity. Acknowledging the truth of that assertion, however, shouldn’t be taken as limiting the possibilities of desire itself; editor Peter Dubé doesn’t mean to suggest that every one of the stories in this year’s collection is necessarily erotic (though some are.) These stories are more complicated than that and they vividly demonstrate that love and longing are both subtle and protean. They point to how human beings desire so much and for so much, so drink deep and drink well from this mix of authors.
I can't remember ever reading an anthology in which I liked all of the stories. I can't remember an anthology in which I could not easily pick out a favorite. This collection is superb. Peter Dube has done a great job in selecting genuinely fresh material. What I particularly liked is that these stories feature dozens and dozens of clever word phrasings and beautifully structured sentences. This book was a joy to read.
I need to reread this anthology before reviewing - I have every belief that it contains good writing, Peter Dube is an interesting writer and good editor, but I had completely forgotten that I had ever read any of the many 'Best Gay Stories' series - they are virtual unknown in UK libraries.
For the moment I give them a compromise three stars and hope that sometime soon I will be ble to give a proper review and rating.
As edited by Peter Dubé, Lethe’s annual collection of short gay fiction celebrates the diversity of voices in our community. This year, Dubé has focused on the many ways in which we yearn, and the result is no less striking than last year’s compilation. The collection starts off strong with Matthew J. Trafford’s marvelously skewed “The Renegade Angels of Parkdale,” in which Zach, recovering from the suicide of his boyfriend, allows his friends to drag him out to a bar populated by gay angels. Trafford’s sense of humor and irony are in full blossom as we track Zach’s evening, which ends up with him and a new chum named Alar (a word which means “resembling wings” for those of you who don’t do crosswords). Rightly or wrongly, self-loathing or not, yearning for straight men is a very large part of some gay men’s lives, as evidenced by Elias Miguel Muñoz’s blend of Star Trek and sexual exploration, “The Unequivocal Moon” as well as Loren Arthur Moreno Jr.’s altogether too brief “At This Late Hour.” But, really, anywhere you open Best Gay Stories 2012, you’re bound to be entranced and intrigued by what’s on the page. This is yet another entry in a fine series that demonstrates not only our diversity but the vast array of talent in our community. Full Review at: https://outinprintblog.wordpress.com/...
As a break from intense engagement with TUCK EVERLASTING, a young-adult title and now musical, I thought I would er-engage with queer lit for a bit. The collection, as is inevitable, is all over the map. Many are more sketch than full story. Most filter their experience through the unique prism of being gay, but that scarcely unites their variety. Few are just about sex, or even sexual identity.
My favorites are about transformation of identity, or glimpses into the identity of others. The saddest features a middle-aged man who literally re-makes himself after divorcing his wife - going to the gym, new haircut, waxing and making himself more attractive to the looks-obsessed world of gay men, only to face judgment. Another centers on a lonely London man who meets men in parks late at night, and finds himself enmeshed in a circle of accident and death. Not surprisingly, these are among the longest works in the collection, taking the time to flesh out events and a narrative arc. The short works, while engaging, rarely stayed with me beyond the pages themselves.
I'm not sure I would call these "Best," but I don'd spend that much time with short gay stories, so I'm only half-qualified (at most!) to render verdict.
But reading for adults, not simply adult in the lurid sense, was a welcome change!