May 21st, 2012

andrew potter

From Particles and Disputations: Writings for Jeff, A Book of Hours by Philip D. Luing

This is a collection of letters, birthday cards, holiday greetings, anniversary remembrances, various notes Philip D. Luing wrote to his partner Jeffrey Lalonde from when they met, in 1982 until Jeffrey’s death in 1994 and beyond, when Philip finally scattered Jeffrey’s ashes at sea in 1998. It’s the chronicle of their love story, and it’s bittersweet to see how this story grew stronger and deeper year after year; Philip was not sure Jeffrey was his type when they met, on the contrary he was pretty sure he was not. But mind and heart have different perception of life, and Jeffrey became Philip’s center. Philip is a writer, Jeffrey is a furrier and later a store manager, so it’s normal that most of the written words are by Philip.

Unfortunately, this is not only a chronicle of love, it’s also a chronicle of AIDS; Philip and Jeffrey are both diagnosed with AIDS in 1985, and like many others, Jeffrey had the first symptoms of illness around 1990 to then die in 1994. 1994 was an annus horribilis, many people died; what or who choses for Jeffrey to die and for Philip to live? In 2012 Philip is still alive, still HIV+, and I’m sure his life is not simple, but at least he had the chance to grow, to love, to live. He had also the chance to mourn Jeffrey’s death and to be able to find love again in the arms of Charles, a man who is encouraging Philip not to forget Jeffrey, but instead to exalt his life with these writings.

When someone dies, if he was loved, there is the hope he will be remembered. If he is an ordinary man, with an ordinary life, the task to remember him goes to whom was near him. But when also those near him die, what remains of all of them? Sometime the cards, the letters, are saved from going to the shredder by their “prettiness”: if they are nice, colourful cards, well written letters, maybe there is some collector that will find them in a yard sale and buy the stock. But most time then not they are lost, and the memory of the men in them lost as well.

Philip D. Luing is trying to not losing Jeffrey’s memories, it’s not much his own writings he want to preserve, I think what is pushing him is the thought that he himself is not timeless and the desire to permanently mark Jeffrey’s existence in this world.

Amazon Kindle: From Particles and Disputations: Writings for Jeff. A Book of Hours
Publisher: BookBaby; 1 edition (February 14, 2012)

Reading List:
andrew potter

In the Spotlight: Andrew Holleran

The Book: Reeling from the recent death of his invalid mother, an exhausted, lonely professor comes to our nation's capital to escape his previous life. What he finds there -- in his handsome, solitary landlord; in the city's somber mood and sepulchral architecture; and in the strange and impassioned journals of Mary Todd Lincoln -- shows him unexpected truths about America and loss.

Amazon: Grief
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Hyperion (June 5, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401308945
ISBN-13: 978-1401308940

The Author: Andrew Holleran is the pseudonym of Eric Garber (born 1944), a novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He is a prominent novelist of post-Stonewall gay literature. He was a member of The Violet Quill, a gay writer's group that met briefly from 1980-81. The Violet Quill included other prolific gay writers like Edmund White and Felice Picano. Garber, who has historically been very protective of his privacy, uses "Andrew Holleran" as his pseudonym.

Dancer from the Dance, his first novel, was published in 1978. Its narrative takes place among the discotheques of New York City and Fire Island, although it is Fire Island, with its literal distance from the mainland, that provides a pivotal backdrop for the novel. Dancer shares many of its locales, as well as its themes, with Faggots, Larry Kramer's novel, published in the same year.

Holleran's second novel was Nights in Aruba, and his third is titled The Beauty of Men. The Beauty of Men takes place in central Florida where the main character, a 47-year-old gay man, has gone to take care of his quadriplegic mother. Holleran's Grief: a Novel received the 2007 Stonewall Book Award.

Holleran teaches creative writing at American University in Washington, DC, and he continues to publish short fiction in gay short story collections like M2M: New Literary Fiction and frequently publishes articles in The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide

He graduated from Harvard College in 1965. (Source:

Top Gay Novels List (*)

First Decade (2000-2009):

Second Decade (2010-2019):

*only one title per author, only print books released after January 1, 2000.

Note: I remember to my friends that guest reviews of the above listed books (the top 100 Gay Novels) are welcome, just send them to me and I will post with full credits to the reviewer.

Other titles not in the top 100 list: