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The Decade of Blind Dates Paperback – December 12, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Lethe Press; Reissue edition (December 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590210476
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590210475
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,355,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Hilarious... Pre-Internet personals, perseverance, and a strong swimmer's sturdy build all pay off for the narrator of this engaging episodic novel about a rural gay artist's decade-long-search, after coming out at midlife, for heart-connecting love-not just sweaty sex. Alther's word portraits of men met along the way-among them a Nordic-god New Age bodybuilder with a dullblack toupee, a burly Bear with a bagful of erotic toys and a miniscule member, and a reclusive basket-weaver with magisterial forearms-are as humane as they are hilarious in a warm-hearted story. --Richard Labonte

Spectacularly witty... The Decade of Blind Dates is a brave novel, a remarkable work of social and personal history. It is gay life as so many Americans lived it in the last decades of the last century, an alternately glorious and confounding picaresque of the mind and heart. It is also spectacularly witty-I started writing down lines that made me laugh out loud and soon ran out of paper. --Richard Stevenson, author of the Donald Strachey series

About the Author

Richard Alther is a professional writer,painter, and father who competes nationallyas a Masters Swimmer. He met his partneronline after years of far-flung adventures asan emerging gay man. They divide their timebetween homes in Southern California andVermont.

Customer Reviews

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And in the end Peter finds both love and self.
Indie Reviews
You will have to read the book to find out whom it turns out to be.
books492
Rich Alther has a tremendous gift with language.
Dianne M.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By books492 on August 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Decade of Blind Dates

Peter Bauman is a gay, divorced painter. Now, at the age of 45, he is looking for someone to be his soul mate.

This novel takes place a decade before the Internet so there is no online dating, as we know it today. Peter decided to try and find someone through personal ads. His daughter encouraged him to "go for it".

Some of the men Peter met were absolutely hilarious. There is Henry who crocheted covers for toilet paper. Peter just could not believe this creative outlet. Then there was Dr. Leo who told Peter over the phone that his vita was fifty-six pages. Peter realized later on that should have been enough to warn him right there. Next came Walter, a physician. The first thing Peter noticed about Walter is a great deal of dandruff on his shoulders. He was also barefoot and his nails needed clipping. Walter showered and Peter thought he smelled pretty good. The two had a couple of sexual encounters but Peter had very mixed feelings about this man and knew it would not work. One day, Peter's son, Derek, walked in on he and Norman when they were dancing the Texas two-step stark naked. Another date was with Winston who happened to have a bag of sex toys. This is just a sample of some of the blind dates that Peter met along his journey to find that special someone.

Barry is Peter's friend and someone he could confide in all the time. Of course, Barry got all the details of Peter's blind dates. He would also give Peter some advice along the way. Barry was in an abusive relationship with a man named Len.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bob Lind on January 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Bauman is a 45 year old man who is less than a decade into his new life as a gay man and artist. Having married and two kids, working a 9-5 job at the time, he came to reconcile his sexuality as well as artistic bent with the insight and support of his ex-wife whom, along with his two now-grown children, he still remains very close. His best friend, Barry, has been invaluable in teaching Peter about dating in this very different atmosphere from when he courted his ex-wife. Living in a rather secluded area of New England, Peter chronicles a decade of meeting men through blind dates, arranged by responding to personal ads in gay periodicals, eventually trying a computer "dating service," and eventually through the internet. It's a long journey to learn to spot the good qualities and quirks of such men, and it also marks his own personal journey to truly understand his feelings toward others in his life, as well as accepting his own faults.

While this is a novel, the author's information on the back cover suggests at least some part of this unique book may be autobiographical. It's clear that he has experienced at least most of the emotions that he brilliantly depicts in his character, resulting in a compelling, provocative and witty story that will especially resonate with gay men who find themselves dating in middle age. Bravo, and five salt-and-pepper stars out of five!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Purchaser of this Product on March 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Decade of Blind Dates was one of the better gay fiction novels I've read. If you are seeking a well-written novel centering around the life of a man north of age 40, you will likely find this book refreshing. It mixes humor and pathos of the single man and the dating scene quite well. Anyone who has tried the singles ads will undoubtedly recognize certain of the experiences from their own adventures.

The book goes beyond just chronicling a series of blind dates, but also attempts to disclose the changes and growth of the main character over a span of the decade. It does this in a decent fashion, but that aspect could have been better treated.

The cover is somewhat deceiving, it suggests this book is laced with the sexual aspects of the blind dates, which it really is not focused on. The cover actually does the quality of the work a disfavor in my opinion.

Try it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Birdeye on September 2, 2008
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This is an excellent adventure. Peter, a divorced gay man,embarks on a scavenger hunt for his soulmate, struggles through a web of truly eccentric dates which will take you through many amusing situations; breezily written, very gay. ( I am straight, so the explicit sexual imagery was interesting..) Relief came with Peter's conversation with his dead mother while painting her portrait. Opening up his past family relationships, Alther lapses into some beautiful, touching prose I hated to leave for the next date.

I loved the ending, and closed the book feeling entirely sated.

You will, too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dianne M. on February 18, 2009
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Rich Alther has a tremendous gift with language. He paints the most outrageous yet believable characters who populate this quest for authentic connection. Hilarious and compassionate, this book is pure joy and laughter. I recommend it to friends, gay and straight, who enjoy delving into the heart and mind of one lovable yet complex seeker. Dianne M., Birmingham, Alabama The Decade of Blind Dates
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More About the Author

Richard Alther is the author of three novels: THE SCAR LETTERS (Centaur Books/2013), THE DECADE OF BLIND DATES (Lethe Press/2008) and SIEGFRIED FOLLIES (Regent Press/2010). Born and raised in New Jersey, he graduated as an English major from Cornell University and pursued twin careers as a writer and painter. He wrote extensively about vegetable gardening and homesteading to earn his family's living while exhibiting his art in one-person shows in Montreal, London, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, and Florida. Richard has competed nationally as a Masters Swimmer and won four gold medals and a silver the Gay Games in Chicago. After continuous and far-flung adventures as an emerging gay man, he met his husband, the musician Ray Repp. They divide their time between homes in Southern California and Vermont, where their grandchildren reside. Visit www.thescarletters.com for more information.

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