From Publishers Weekly
With painstakingly detailed, passionate sex scenes balanced by plenty of insight into its characters' anguished inner lives, Shapiro's debut novel dramatically captures love's roulette of emotions: the electricity of possibility, the pull of youth, the weight of loss. Shapiro depicts the fraught relationship between two New York City men: 42-year-old ad exec Jim Glaser and 23-year-old pretty-boy and aspiring artist Seth McKenna. Pulled together by empathy and animal attraction, Jim and Seth must also navigate undercurrents of pain: Jim still mourns the death of his long-term partner, Zak, and Seth conceals a troubled smalltown Nebraska background that includes a fundamentalist Christian mother, an abusive stepfather and a horrifying teenage experience that has left him emotionally crippled. Afraid of Jim's pity, Seth paints a much cheerier picture of his upbringing, and when his younger sister, Cassie, suddenly shows up in New York, Seth is terrified she will reveal their history. Bitter that Seth escaped Nebraska and she didn't until now, Cassie also struggles with but quickly accepts his homosexuality. Fate temporarily calls Seth back to Nebraska, and he and Jim hit a painful low before Shapiro delivers a reassuring if improbable happy ending. (Mar.)
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Cooper Union grad student Seth "enhances" his background during a first date with Jim, 40, the assured, suave, power-suited ad exec Seth met while assisting on a photo shoot. We know where this is going, but the pleasure's in the process as experienced Jim, still grieving the loss of longtime lover Zak two years ago, forestalls the inevitable and spends months--months!--of quiet dinners and long, meandering walks before falling passionately into bed with the youth for four days of hot sex. The two seem soul-destined, but nightmares of Seth's abused, impoverished past follow them into Jim's well-appointed bed. For it's culture shock for the youth from Nebraska, whose slummy apartment consists of tiny bedroom, bathtub-in-kitchen, and a futon for the hooker roommate. Complications mount when Seth's sister, Cassie, arrives unexpectedly. This smoothly written gay melodrama on both the poignancy of first love and love the second time around cries for movie adaptation. Whitney Scott
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