In the first book, R.W. Day broke a taboo, the main character, David, was “only” 16 years old and he fell in love with Callan, who was 23 years old. Truth be told, I didn’t feel at the time as that was an issue, considering the time and the setting, David was an adult, and Callan was of course still young, their age difference was almost non-existent, if not for the fact that Callan was sexually experienced and David instead wasn’t. To the same readers complaining that David falls in love with another man in this sequel, I’d like to remember that Callan himself had a relationship with another man in that first book. Truth it was not love, but still, it’s not like these two men never looked to another one as soon as they meet each other.
Anyway I highlighted again the age difference since, of the many complaints I heard about this second novel, not one highlighted the fact that Sterling, the “other man” is 63 years old! And David is only 18… so, do you really believe this love is possible? Sure, I’m not questioning David’s feelings for Sterling, but well, I think the author “used” Sterling as an expedient to prove that love is complex, and mostly doesn’t care about age, class and gender, but I have never thought that David and Callan were not destined together.
People complained it was not possible that David really loved Sterling, or that it was not possible that his love for Callan was real; someone saw as “convenient” as David and Sterling’s relationship evolved, since if not like that, there was no way for David to be able to go back to Callan. I simply think there were different love; David looked upon Sterling, and he really loved him, but their differences were clear and big, the love between them was almost reverence, a little like the Greek love were an older one teaches to a younger one the way of life. With Callan instead David has a more balanced relationship, and Callan’s disability (he lost an arm) makes them even more near, almost cancelling their different social status; even the highlighting of how Callan has great difficulty to write with his left hand is a way, to me, to level him to David’s illiteracy or bad accent.
So yes, I’m not sure I would recommend this novel to “all” readers, mostly since it’s a dark romance which doesn’t play according the rules. But if you are aware of that, than I think this one will test your willingness to try something different.
Amazon: Out of the Ashes
Amazon Kindle: Out of the Ashes
Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (September 25, 2010)
1) A Strong and Sudden Thaw: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1281982.html
2) Out of the Ashes
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott