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Between Men 2: Original Fiction by Today's Best Gay Writers Paperback – May 1, 2009

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Oxford-educated Canning is Lecturer in British and American Literature at the University of Sheffield, England. He review regularly for The (national) Independent newspaper in England, and writes frewuently for a range of printt media both there and in th
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593501145
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593501143
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,154,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A on May 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am surprised at the negative reviews and hope mine will even the scale somewhat. I am a big lover of gay-themed short story collections - I have pretty much read them all - and I would certainly place this one in the top ten. The stories are not your everyday romances or erotica, so you will be disappointed if that is what you are looking for. However, they are on the whole touching, humanizing, and artfully done.

I had long postponed buying this collection precisely because of the bad reviews and finally bought it simply because I had run out of collections to read. I am very glad that I did.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I finished reading these 19 stories, I wondered how the editor Richard Canning could have selected some that were first class and so many others that-- to be charitable-- were lackluster. He includes several previously published, well-known writers-- Andrew Holleran, Alan Hollinghurst, Patrick Gale, Mark Merlis, Ethan Mordden, Kevin Killian, Randall Kenan, Aaron Hamburger, Jim Grimsley, John Weir-- and others whose fiction I had not read before.

The most disappointing by far has to be "Gainesville Before Noon" by one of the most respected writers of gay fiction there is. I have read everything Andrew Holleran has written-- although I keep hoping against hope that he will use his real name rather than a pen name; after all he could now get married if he lived in a few of these United States-- but I would not be inclined to look up his other fiction from this story. The unnamed narrator is a sad man in his 50's who meets other sad middle-aged men in North Florida whom he finds in computer chatrooms. To a person Holleran describes them as "oval" shaped. Couldn't there have been just one sad man who was skinny or who might have gone to the gym occasionally? This story is somewhere way past dreary. Alan Hollinghurst, winner of the Booker Prize for LINE OF BEAUTY and the author of several other novels I enjoyed, doesn't fare much better. In "Highlights" the younger Archie convinces his older friend Colin, who was "thought to be duller and older than he was," to have his hair streaked while they are on holiday in Rome. About mid-way into this story, these two men run into a couple named the Grotons who-- unless I slept through the first 11 pages of the story-- apparently dropped in from another piece of fiction.
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Format: Paperback
Richard Canning has undone it again? His second anthology of gay male stories, struck me as having--once again--two blemishes.

(1) Aesthetically inferior (happens elsewhere; (1A) short stories today seem to be no longer taut tense dynamic tales, but muddied meandering memoirs, and (1B) note to editors: you simply do not, repeat not, except in unusual circumstances, lift out a section from a novel and present it as a short story. (Tho if you have to ask why not, I admit you wouldn't understand...).

But also (2) as psychologically-suspect. My review of his first anthology criticized his "delight" in characters who were psychologically-suspect. In that book's introduction, he said : "Most of the protagonists in Between Men, I'm thrilled to say, behave badly, argue unconvincingly, backtrack constantly, misdescribe, misappropriate, and misbehave." (Is that a dead give-away or red flag, Rorschach-test style? Of Canning's bias, flaw--of my own overreaction?...) In short, characters immature to the point of unworked case-studies (IMHO), hence insignificant as art

No, I do not say the opposite of a world-view of depressed deviating, etc., is or should be 100% optimistic sentimental Hallmark-card type Babbitt-boosting Apple Pie junk. No, something in between: "in every family, something's the matter," as the Asian proverb says. Or Thomas Mann, who said that every happy family is the same, every unhappy family is so in its own way. Indeed, fiction is about problems, complications! Let literary art explore the human condition, seamy-side warts and all, yes. But let final significance emerge. Not just drifty dudes playing out pathologies in wandering words, diluted diaries.
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