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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Surprising Myself by Christopher Bram 
5th-Mar-2006 11:55 pm
Good Lord...I've hardly had the time or even been in the mood to read lately. You know it's bad when that happens... (--;

Bram, Christopher. Surprising Myself. 1987. New York: Owl, 1988.
Summary: Joel first meets Corey while working at a Boy Scout Camp, and when they meet again later, they become lovers. Their relationship is tested over the next three years as they leave Virginia and move to New York City, dealing with Joel's sister's divorce, his sleeping around, and his grandmother's death--but they stay together, even if it means Corey remaining with Joel on his mother's farm.
Comments: Christopher Bram's debut novel, though written in simple and undistinguished prose, is instantly appealing. Though both Corey and Joel have bits of Bram's prototypical inarticulate male, neither of them are full-blown examples of the species, and that makes them perhaps a bit more accessible (at least for me, the articulate female). Ironically enough, however, the title refers to Joel's occasional lack of connection to his inner self. In fact, the best character in this novel had to have been Liza, a woman trying to find herself under the oppressive affections of her boyfriend-cum-husband Kearney. Juxtaposing her relationship difficulties with Joel's was an especially brilliant stroke that highlights the importance of unity between minority groups without being at all didactic; Bram mostly focuses on the difference between loving for keeps and being in euphoric love--about how to make it love last. It's a gentle, sweet, even too-prosaic sort of story about love and relationships as a work in progress, and were it a heterosexual couple, it may not have been published. However, Bram is NOT dealing with especially with the trials and tribulations of coming out (Joel's self-realization seems nearly lackadaisical) or with disease (as this story is set pre-AIDS). So, that makes for a nice change of pace.
Notes: trade paperback, 4th printing, out-of-print
Rating: 6/10 - Midweight reading in "literary fiction"...but it has a happy ending! ^__^
1st-Apr-2006 01:21 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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