I'm a viciously self-destructive person, and that's all there is to it, folks. *nod nod* I had planned to hold off on the reading at least until next month. Really, I did. At least Daylight Savings ended today, so I get an extra hour to make up for the, oh, five that I lost reading this AMAZING novel!THANK YOU, cynbaby, for the new icon! *hugs*
(You know, the artist himself is mentioned several times in this novel!)Bram, Christopher. Gossip. New York: Plume, 1998. (First Edition: 1997)Summary
: The liberal bookstore manager Ralph Eckhart indulges in a brief affair with a Bill O'Connor, a right-wing pundit. Out of love for Ralph, Bill outs himself on national TV...and gets himself killed. Ralph is suspected of the murder, and in the events that follow as he tries to prove his innocence, it turns out that all of his friends have either lied to or used him. Turns out that Bill was killed not by some opportunistic or self-righteous trick, but by his own enraged father. "The personal is political," indeed. Comments
: The third time must be the charm because this is the first of Bram's novels that I have read that is unabashedly and compulsively readable. Albert is in some ways Bram's usual big-boned, torpid hero, but unlike the ones in the novels I've read thus far, he is older and well-educated. He's just, well, divorced from the realities of certain things, and it gives him a certain purity. Also, this novel was narrated entirely in first person, and it was nice not having to bounce around with various points of view. Bill, in spite of the misogynist invective that he spews in his book, comes across as sincere and lovable, and when he is rejected by Ralph, I really felt my heart go out to him. (Ah, yes...Bram DOES write some of the best gay sex scenes I've ever seen in mainstream novels. Not yoga-like inventive, but rather filled with little and even affectionate details that make the scene just leap to life off the page.) Even the main female character, Anna, is 500% better-written than any of Bram's previous heroines. Maybe it helps that she's gay rather than straight, but she comes alive in a truly believable way that the author had not been able to achieve previously for his women, and you share her pain just as acutely as any other character's. Obviously, we've got the usual death theme, but it is oddly sublimated, and the way that it is woven resignedly into the fabric of the novel which ends on a high-note appeal for universal tolerance and love, suggests that Bram himself is maturing as both a writer and thinker. Though of course the whole gossip theme, a predominant one, is a symptom of the Clinton Era and not so pressing now, the absolute polarization between liberals and conservatives, which did not harden into the cultural mindset until the 21st century, is foreseen here, and it makes Ralph and Bill's love story--and yes, it is a love story in spite of Ralph's claim that he is emphatically not in love--all the more poignant. Notes
: trade paperback, 4th printing, out-of-printRating
- It's an entertaining, easy read AND it has real thought-provoking meat to chew on. What more could you ask for?