Nick Broome has the first biological clock by Timex: it takes a licking and keeps on ticking. In this queer twist on the new genre of reproductive comedy, a single gay Washingtonian in his 30s realizes that although he has a brother and a sister--both healthy, successful adults--no one in his family has made a move toward having children. The Broome genes are being swept into oblivion. Nick's brother Greg tries to compensate for the unspoken loss by arranging a dreaded annual dinner for the siblings in an ugly roadside restaurant. Even Nick's mother, who has never asked for a grandchild, remarks that there's not much point in having a big Christmas tree every year. With sudden clarity and a fetching image of Atlantic herring dropping their eggs and semen in unison, then swimming on, Nick decides to take matters into his own hands. Rejected by every sperm bank he can find, he looks in vain for a lesbian coparent, then a straight coparent, then a surrogate mother, meeting a wonderfully weird collection of similarly needy people in the process, and incidentally coming across a gorgeous bartender named Joe. Although funny, this astute and occasionally surprising second novel offers far more than a good laugh and manages to avoid almost every stereotype of gay life.--Regina Marler
From Publishers Weekly
In this well-crafted second novel, Nick Broome, the youngest son of a Washington, D.C., family, is facing an existential crisis, namely, the demise of his nonprocreative clan's family name. He wants desperately to bring life into the world, envisioning a boy in a blue parka as his ideal son and even going so far as to make a deal with himself to make a baby within a year. Thirty-four-year-old Nick refuses to adopt because his lump of love must share his DNA, and the usual boy-meets-girl route is not open to him, for Nick is gay. The bulk of the novel is a whirlwind tour of the world of artificial insemination and surrogacy. Nick's breeding quest takes him behind the door of sperm banks, where posters of European towers suggest phallic exuberance; when sperm collectors reject him, Nick tries to find a surrogate mother. His ads in the newspaper and on the Internet bring in, among others, a female escort, an angry teen and the unbalanced Nattie, whose brother, Joe, Nick meets in the mental hospital where Nattie has registered herself for a tuneup. Though Joe and Nick become lovers, he continues his search for a fertile vessel. His family is dying out, Nick believes, and he's doing nothing about it. As the novel reaches its crescendo, Nick foolishly treats Joe like a son and flirts dangerously with a contract matchmaker named Lyle, eventually learning more about love and himself. Though the novel's method is at times tiresome and the humor at best tepid, Bayard manages to keep our interest in Broome's quest while teaching us a thing or two about the force that drives procreation. Regional author appearances.
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