Forrest Barton is 44 years old and waiting for his partner, Ernest, to come back home from the IIWW. It’s not that Forrest doesn’t understand how difficult it’s for Ernest, he himself was a soldier during the IWW, but he misses his man. Especially on Christmas time when they have traditions together to share with Forrest’s cousin, Wilton and his partner Gaither (both men are in Grit by Jardonn Smith and William Maltese). Ernest told Forrest to respect their tradition, and that is the above sex scene I mentioned: when they gathered together with Wilton and Gaither, Forrest and Ernest shared their bed with the other couple and they do the festivities on their own way. This year, and for the past three years since Ernest left, Forrest moved to a ménages a trois, and that is the only sex he has and only since Ernest told him to, in a way Forrest is faithful to Ernest.
After the sex scene, the story moves immediately to the bittersweet tale, with Forrest helping a young soldier, Vernon, to deliver some Christmas gifts to his 3 and 4 years old sons and his wife at home. It’s a wonderful and tragic tale, an old fashioned holiday tale that had me almost in tears. I so wanted for it to have a different ending, as I always want when reading war novels, even if I know that a different ending is almost always impossible. War was not generous, and many, many men succumbed to its wrath.
I strongly recommend this novella, aside for the little paranormal element, it’s also a good historical setting, with right references to the time and war period.
Amazon Kindle: Furlough Bridge
Publisher: MLR Press,LLC (December 29, 2010)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott