Mark Probst's Reviews > Whistling in the Dark

Whistling in the Dark by Tamara  Allen
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's review
Mar 31, 2009

it was amazing
Read in April, 2009

Every once in a while I’ll read a book that will literally sweep me off into another world and hold me there, in a magical trance. Whistling in the Dark is one of those novels, and while reading it, I began to feel that I had no business being a writer as nothing I write will ever compare.

Tamara Allen uses a very light touch to show the New York City of 1919 as she recreates a post-war Mecca vividly describing the birth of prohibition, jazz, and radio stations; underground homosexual parties; automats; shady loan sharks; and two psychologically-damaged soldiers, Jack and Sutton, who find salvation in one another. The very long novel has a feel of Americana, but without the overly cheery optimism. What is so fascinating to observe, is how these two characters warm up to each other. The pace is deliciously slow and as they get to know each other, it never once feels staged, nor does the reader feel telegraphed ahead where their relationship is headed. It took great restraint to allow these characters to develop separately before they finally came together romantically. I shan’t spoil you by telling you how it happens, but the circumstances that lead up to their first kiss, is one of the most unique and imaginative plot twists I’ve ever encountered.

Though the novel certainly deals with some dark and serious issues, the overall tone is buoyant and charming and I had a silly grin on my face though most of it. The myriad of supporting characters are well-drawn and there was the full range of good to bad. The only thing I will say that is even remotely negative is that I counted five straight characters that knew about the love affair between Jack and Sutton and were completely supportive of it. It’s possible. Not likely, but possible. Also, this book has got to hold the record for the number of times the word “sandwich” is used. That’s not a complaint, just a playful observation. There were so many sandwiches consumed in this book, I felt positively stuffed.

Whistling in the Dark is a truly remarkable first novel and a beautiful and poignant romance that deserves to be read and savored by anyone who appreciates good gay fiction. So please read it, then tell all of your friends to read it too.
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03/31/2009 page 65
02/10/2016 marked as: read
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