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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Call Me by P-P Hartnett 
20th-Apr-2006 11:13 pm
Downright shocking to find such a dud released by St. Martin's Press. They usually have (or rather had) such good taste in what they put out!

Hartnett, P-P. Call Me. 1997. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998. (First UK Edition: 1996)
Summary: Mourning the death of Ray, the love of his life that he met while in cancer treatment, idle photographer Liam becomes obsessed with the personals, first taking one out himself as "Bike Boy," and then answering dozens more under different personas. Which leads to close encounters with nearly every imaginable homoerotic kink...and a stalker. Liam's father dies shortly after his is able to shake his stalker, and Liam, irrepentant, goes right back to personals.
Comments: Okay, so this novel was SUPPOSED to be funny. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood, maybe not, but I wasn't laughing. At all. The various personalities were pathetic, not funny, and Liam's own paranoia (leading him to carry a knife and worry about drugged cups of tea) was sorely misplaced, given the more realistic threat of STDs (and I'm not just talking HIV). I feel like Hartnett was, to some extent, channeling the thematic concerns of 70's gay fiction with its obsession with sex and lack of interest in greater meaning/higher sentiment--and, quite frankly, I think there are more interesting things to talk about, especially in the mid-90's. The novel provides a fascinating first-person view of the culture of the personal, which, as this was before the super-duper rise of the Internet, was conducted almost entirely via telephone and snail mail and seems rather quaint these days. Ah, how time flies when you're...err...having fun.
Notes: trade paperback, Stonewall Inn Edition, 2nd printing
Rating: 3.5/10 - Neither destined to be a classic nor even particularly entertaining. Boo. Hartnett should stick to photography.
28th-Apr-2006 11:06 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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