I've been working on this one for a couple of weeks. Next up? The first half of 1984
for my Science Fiction class tomorrow. After that, I'll probably be back to whittling down my enormous pile of manga.Olshan, Joseph. Night Swimmer. London: Bloomsbury, 1995. (First Edition: 1994)Summary
: The love of Will's life disappeared without a trace one night while the two of them were swimming in the ocean, and, in the successive ten years, Will has never totally gotten over Chad, who he is sure did not die out there but instead chose to abandon him. He has recently broken up with Greg, and they are sharing custody of their dog. Enter Sean, a young man with torments of his own. He and Will hit it off in a big way, but the hauntings of their respective pasts soon get in the way of romantic bliss.Comments
: Joseph Olshan, the author in question, is perhaps most famous for Clara's Heart
, which was adapted into a feature-length film starring Whoopi Goldberg. This novel, which actually has no female characters whatsoever, is written almost entirely in first person, with Will address Sean directly. Though none of the characters are very young, the heated, urgent tone of the prose reminds me of a young teen pining over love. At times it's irritating since you'd think adults at least would have more perspective, but I suppose it's suitable, given the soap-opera subject matter. There is quite a lot of literary mirroring going on with the common threads that the two men share and the way in which Sean ultimately ups and leaves without a trace like Chad once did, and, since this is gay fiction, of course we get the obligatory disease subtheme. None of the characters, major or minor, prove to have AIDS, however, and the implication that the real affliction is one of the heart, not the immune system. In addition, there are touches of almost-but-not-quite magic realism, particularly in the way that Chad disappears and then, right at the end, Will sees his face in the water. (You can bet that I wasn't satisified with the elusive ending.) The best part of this novel is way in which ordinary NYC scenes are described so easily and realistically that you aren't even aware that there is a writerly hand behind them.Notes
: UK trade paperback edition, 3rd printing; American trade paperback edition availableRating
- Really good, provided you don't mind the adolescent-ish angst.