Heh. Someone needs to write a novel entirely in blog format...Tushinski, Jim. Van Allen's Ecstasy. New York: Southern Tier Editions, 2004.Summary
: The only "normal" member of an extraordinarily gifted family, Michael Van Allen has lost his memory. As he emerges from the mental hospital trying to recover his own life, he discovers that he was a horribly dissatisfied man nurturing insanity in the form of hallucinations of the composer Scriabin and and delusions of gradeur, driving away his family and his boyfriend Paul.Comments
: Better than I expected but not nearly as good as I had hoped. Michael's dissatisfaction with his apparent lack of talent was much more poignant and convincing than his abrupt descent into schizophrenia in the latter half of the novel. Though Tushinski claims that he was inspired to this novel by records of a gay man who had been institutionalized in the 60's, Michael's sexual orientation (not to mention Scriabin's) seems mostly incidental to the narrative--it's just one more way that he differs from his gifted, successful fantasy that makes them scorn him all the more. And if the implication is that Scriabin was gifted because of or in spite of his homosexual desire or if the author was attempting to make some point by comparing Michael to the Russian, it wasn't done well because I got nothing profound from that. The bulk of the story was written as a diary of uninspired technique. All in all, given that I can't really call it "gay fiction" and the only real reason to read this book, even though the novel isn't edgy enough to be a mystery thriller, is to find out exactly what happened...which, for me, is a superficial gimmick at best.Notes
: trade paperback, 1st editionRating
- I've no clue who this novel's audience should be, but if you think your a member of it, go for it. Otherwise, save your time for other pursuits.