And the Rainbow Award goes to:
1) Wayne Courtois - Tales My Body Told Me (Lethe Press)
I liked that this story took risks and that the author wasn’t afraid to tackle a taboo topic and to do so with an honesty and forthrightness that I don’t normally find. There were times when the story lagged, but I never became so disinterested that I didn’t want to know how it ended and what would become of the men in this awkward, uncomfortable situation. The descriptions of the house are vivid and spooky, at time almost delving into a horror-like feeling, and the characters themselves were easy to become attached to, Paul in particular. As the story unfolded, I became more and more engrossed, and by the end, I discovered that while it’s not traditional, this is definitely a book I would recommend to a friend. --Kym
Mr. Courtois, author of A Report from Winter has written, in my mind, a very intriguing book. The premise is a good one-putting a group of gay men, with all of their peculiarities, together in a house-creates a mystery to engage us in, and keep us guessing as to what it going to happen next and what it all means. The writing is wonderful-the characters are complete and approachable, and the read is one of those that keeps the mind working-something I love. There may be those who don’t care for this-but I think more will than not. A hearty thumbs up. --Robert
Sex. Satire. Mystery. Foul Play. True Love. Not necessarily in that order. Paul Lavarnway thought he had settled into comfortable, middle-aged domesticity in Kansas City with his husband Eric. So how is it he finds himself confined with four other men at East Oak House, a spooky old mansion from which they can see the rundown, off-season resort of Two Piers, Maine, with its single pier and silent Ferris Wheel? He can't remember. Is it the drugs? The group therapy meant to help Paul and his housemates learn to be happy ex-gays? While winter deepens outside the windows, Paul and his companions and their sweetly sinister mentor Brian explore the past and the future without ever quite understanding their present in the hot-house atmosphere of East Oak House. As memory comes to the surface, Paul discovers truths about himself, his husband, the man who came between them, and the accidental lover whose death looks more and more like murder. Shifting with surreal grace from profound emotion to shallow sex to mystery and horror to outrageous comedy to redemption (maybe), Tales My Body Told Me is a novel like no other.
2) Miguel Santana - The Marien Revelation (Alligator Press)
Truly excellent, but a little difficult to wrap my brain around. --Bobby
About to turn forty, Marién Valbuena, finds herself evaluating her relationships, her faith, and her life. Two millennia separate her and Mary, a young woman in Ancient Judea. While Marién can't find a reason to hold on to a complicated pregnancy, Mary shelters her own on the intricacies of a prophecy. Intertwined across time, the lives of these two women come together, inviting us to reconsider the fine lines between fiction and reality, between myth and assumed truth. In this novel, Miguel Santana is revealed as a mature and visionary writer. He masterfully weaves passages from the Bible and other sacred texts into his imaginative and poetic prose. Readers are transported to a world where they not only recognize the pillars of our civilization, but also feel the need to question them.
3-tie) Marshall Moore - An Ideal for Living (Lethe Press)
Grace White and her brother Robert, overweight and affluent, are desperate to hang onto their respective love interests. Grace’s husband Rich is bonking every woman he can talk into bed. Grace is willing to look beyond his affairs if she can just have her marriage back. Robert’s law school fling James’s interest diminished as Robert’s waistline increased, but Robert has never moved on. The only solution? Losing those excess pounds… by any means necessary. And when James finds a supernatural healer who can sculpt living flesh like clay, beautiful ugliness ensues. Will Robert and Grace get what they want, or what they deserve? In An Ideal for Living, Marshall Moore has written a shocking fantastique, a novel that captures the Zeitgeist of contemporary urban life, where beauty is a commodity craved, consumed, and traded. Marshall Moore is the author of the novel The Concrete Sky and the short fiction collections Black Shapes in a Darkened Room and The Infernal Republic. He has also published dozens of short stories, essays, book reviews, and other odds and ends. A native of the American South, he lives and works in Hong Kong. His website is marshallmoore.com. Richard Labonté included An Ideal for Living in his pick of the 10 best novels of 2010. He writes: "What better themes for a skewed-view gay novel than the concepts of self-loathing, gym culture, and body image, abetted by a supernatural solution to avoirdupois and a money-buys-anything sense of entitlement? Moore’s razor-sharp dialogue and well-honed disdain for the concept of beauty at any cost makes this unsettling novel irresistible."
Sean Meriwether - The Silent Hustler (Lethe Press)
Well, I'm not too keen on short stories - just when I want to know more, the story ends. However, some of them were really good, some of them didn't catch my interest. --Caroline
Best known for editing the edgy gay fiction of the Velvet Mafia website, Sean Meriwether has quietly been writing short fiction and building up a body of his own work. The Silent Hustler collects his short fiction published over the last decade. Meriwether's fiction spans in range from the literary ("Things I Can't Tell My Father") to the revolutionary ("Burn the Rich") to the downright raunchy ("Sneaker Queen"). Slip into bed with The Silent Hustler. You won’t feel guilty in the morning.
5) Nick Nolan - Double Bound (AmazonEncore)
Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Contemporary
And the Rainbow Award goes to: