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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Still Life with June by Darren Greer 
22nd-May-2006 07:41 pm
Wow. This was another blind purchase acquired at the same time as The Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington...and it's another goodie by a Canadian. Why have I been enjoying random purchases more lately than books that come highly recommended? Now there's a question... *sighs*

Greer, Darren. Still Life with June. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2005. (Original Canadian Edition: 2003)
Summary: Unsuccessful writer Cameron Dodd, who spends Christmas Day soaking up the lives of others at gay bars for his material, has been commissioned by a woman masquerading as an accomplished writer to spy on the pianist upstairs, who turns out to be her dying twin brother. Meanwhile, Cameron is working at an addiction treatment center and himself pretending to be the brother of the retarded June Greene, who in reality committed suicide at the center. Turns out in the end that the twin isn't actually dying and Cameron really IS Darrel Greene--he was only wishing that he weren't.
Comments: St. Martin's Press has, once again, put out a really impressive piece of gay (white male) fiction. Utterly addictive by page three, this book sports an unusual narrative structure bristling with story excerpts, numbered lists, and chapters arranged thematically, not chronologically...and a brand of sardonic humor that made me laugh helplessly aloud. Cameron's insistence upon calling the big box bookstore he frequents "BIG BAD BOOKS" was hilarious, for example. Though the narrator claims that this is a novel about "losers who know they are losers," this is actually about outcasts of various sorts learning to respect and rely upon one another instead of hurting one another--and even to cultivate friendship and love. Incidentally, even though the final revelation was foreshadowed really heavily in the beginning, I was taken by surprise by it. (The "BIG BAD" bully who turns out to be gay, on the other hand, is a total cliche.) I was intrigued by how, even though Cameron is Canadian, all he ever talked about was "North American." Is that a Canadian thing? Or is that something the publisher had Greer do for potential US consumers? Anyway, this novel is AWESOME; it's almost unthinkable that I stumbled upon it by mere chance. I hope word of its excellence spreads.
Notes: trade paperback, PBO, 1st American edition
Rating: 8/10 - An utter pleasure to devour. You'll probably find yourself doing it in one sitting.
31st-May-2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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