Prince of Tides, Steve Walker, 2002
Changing Tides by Michael Thomas Ford, 2007: Few authors write about the full spectrum of gay men's lives with as much warmth, honesty, humor, and compassion as Michael Thomas Ford. Now the bestselling author of Last Summer, Looking For It, and Full Circle, delivers a shimmering, heartwarming story of one summer in the lives of three people, of the elusive search for human connection—and the necessity of love. Marine biologist Ben Ransome understands the sea, especially the tiny, beautiful sea slugs he has studied and admired for most of his life. What Ben doesn't understand are people, and now, one of the most important people in his life—his sixteen-year-old daughter, Caddie—is coming to live with him for the summer. But the sweet, happy child he remembers has been replaced by a wounded, angry stranger who resents everything about her father. Caddie is determined to act out in every way, leaving Ben feeling more alone than ever. Hudson Jones has come to Monterey, California, to find the answers to all his questions. The young, ambitious graduate student believes he's found a lost John Steinbeck novel called Changing Tides that seems to hint at the author's love for his best friend, Ed "Doc" Ricketts. If he can prove it, his career will be made. And then, perhaps he can quiet the personal demons that haunt him. But first, he'll need some local help in his research, and Ben just may be able to supply him with access to the information he needs. It's clear to Hudson that the handsome, quietly passionate Ben needs some help, too—with Caddie and his life. Sharing dinners and walks on the beach, intellectual discussions and heart-to-heart conversations, Ben and Hudson move from tentative friendship to a surprising, revelatory relationship, one with the power to point them toward the most important discoveries of their lives. For Ben, it's a summer of new beginnings, even as his daughter embarks on a dangerous course that will test the new happiness he's found. Changing Tides is an extraordinary novel that explores the glorious flaws and frailties of human beings in the never-ending struggle to connect, to be open to love, and to embrace the unknown in order to live fully.
Amazon: Changing Tides
Survivors, Steve Walker, 2001
Full Circle by Michael Thomas Ford, 2006: In novels such as Last Summer and Looking For It, Michael Thomas Ford has honestly and lovingly explored the intimate details of gay men’s lives, from hot sex and lasting relationships to friendship and the search for family. Now he’s crafted his most extraordinary novel yet, a powerful saga of three friends and lovers whose story spans decades and whose bonds have finally come Full Circle. History professor Ned Brummel is living happily with his partner of twelve years in small-town Maine when he receives a phone call from his estranged friend—Jack—telling him that another friend—Andy—is very ill and possibly near death. It is news that shatters the peace of his world for many reasons. And as Ned boards a plane to Chicago on his way to his friend’s bedside, he embarks on another journey into memory, examining the major events and small moments that have shaped his world and his relationships with these two very different, very important men. Growing up together through the restrictive 1950’s and confusing ‘60’s, Jackson "Jack" Grace and Ned Brummel took solace in their love for each other. But once they arrive at college in 1969 and meet handsome farm boy Andy Kowalski, everything changes. Despite Andy’s apparent heterosexuality, both Jack and Ned fall hard for him, straining their close friendship. Soon, the three men will become involved in a series of intense liaisons and bitter betrayals, coming together and flying apart, as they alternately hurt, love, shape, and heal one another over the course of years. From the heady, drug- and sex-fueled days of San Francisco in the wild seventies to the haunting spectre of AIDS in the eighties and the righteous activism of the nineties, their relationship transforms and grows, reflecting the changes going on around them. Now, together again in the most crucial and intimate of settings, Ned, Jack, and Andy have another chance to confront the damage of the past and embrace the bonds of friendship and love that have stood the test of time. Full Circle is a wonderfully moving chronicle of three friends that is also an unflinching, triumphant celebration of the power of gay friendships, of the deep bonds forged despite strong obstacles, and of the love that is ultimately the most important thing we can ever share.
Amazon: Full Circle
A Place in the Sun, Steve Walker, 2000
Last Summer by Michael Thomas Ford, 2003: After a string of humorous essay collections, Ford (The Little Book of Neuroses) expands his repertoire with this brimful first novel about life, love and self-discovery over the course of a steamy Provincetown summer. Among the bevy of characters Ford introduces is Josh Felling, who flees to a friend's guesthouse to mull over his boyfriend's recent infidelity, though a day later he's already lusting over Reilly Brennan, the soon-to-be-married guesthouse repairman who might not be so straight after all. Midwestern runaway teen Toby Evans arrives soon after, and meets sweet local transgender performer Emmeline, who takes him in; next comes influential Hollywood producer Reid Truman and his boyfriend, hot closeted actor Ty Rusk. A quick weekend away turns into an indefinite stay for Josh, who has decided to write a novel and agrees to donate sperm so that Jackie, a local lesbian restaurant owner, can bear a child. Complicating matters for the Hollywood duo is Devin, an opportunistic local girl who insinuates herself into their lives by agreeing to pose as Ty's New York "love interest," but has big plans to expose their relationship to the tabloids instead. This is a slight cut above more mainstream gay fiction offerings, thanks to Ford's crisp prose and snappy, contemporary dialogue. Though the characters wade across some all-too-familiar waters, it's the sandy, barefoot-friendly setting that morphs all the melodrama into a satisfying beach book-and a pleasant fiction debut for Ford. (Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Amazon: Last Summer
Lost At Sea, Steve Walker, 1998
Looking for It by Michael Thomas Ford, 2004: Mike Monaghan is the bartender at the Engine Room, a meeting place for the small but thriving community of gay men in Cold Falls, New York. As Mike pours beer, wipes glasses and hears everything, he’s also witness to the men who come here looking for what they need—sex, direction, friendship, spiritual fulfillment, and love. People like: Stephen Darby—As an accountant, he knows many secrets. But Stephen has his own secret, one he’s never been able to share with anyone close to him. Being the perfect son costs him dearly, and now it may take from him the one man he longs for. Pete Thayer—Playing it straight, Pete takes out his frustrations on transmissions and engines during the day, then spends his nights trying to quench his needs through anonymous sex. But once the thrill of the forbidden begins to fade, what will he be left with? John and Russell—The golden couple in town has the ideal relationship everyone wants. But behind the scenes, their storybook marriage is on the verge of facing some explosive trials that will shake both men completely. Father Thomas Dunn—More and more the gentle priest is feeling a need to express the secret desires that conflict with his devotion to the church, sending his faith into a tailspin and making him question what he really wants from life. Simon Bird—He’s a fixture in town, an old queen everyone finds amusing and entertaining. Still mourning the loss of his longtime lover, Simon yearns to find love and a place in a culture that worships youth and beauty. As Mike hands these men their drinks, he marvels at their determination, strength and foolishness. But most of all, he begins to question his own dissatisfaction, pondering what’s missing from his own life, and what risks he may have to take to find fulfillment. Looking For It is an extraordinarily human tale of community, friendship, and the search for happiness. With unflinching honesty, keen insight, and his trademark humor, Michael Thomas Ford weaves together the unforgettable stories of these seven men, chronicling their dreams, hurts, heartbreaks, joys, and hopes, while taking readers on an emotional journey to find what it is we’re all looking for.
Amazon: Looking For It
More Artists at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art
This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/2363783.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.