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Junction X Paperback – November 1, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Cheyenne Publishing (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193769206X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937692063
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,875,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By E. L. Van Hine on November 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
Regardless of how well-written, cleverly-plotted, or fully-realized the characters (which all add up to a good read), a novel is, on the whole, simply something you read for entertainment or as a pastime. However, there are those books, few and far between, which strike you as wholly different, that make you sit up and read carefully and read again, that strike a chord, and linger with you for days and weeks afterward, whose dialogue strikes you so hard that you hear the words spoken afterward, burned into memory. I had that experience reading "Them" by Joyce Carol Oates when I was in high school, the unrelentingly vivid tragic novel of three generations of a family caught in a cycle of abuse and betrayal. When I put the book down, the book did not leave me, and in some sense, has not left me yet. I read feverishly through the rest of Oates' opus, and yet only once in her books did I find that same intensity, something that spoke to me (and clearly, to many other readers and critics, since it won the National Book Award in 1969.)

And "Junction X" is such a book: tragic, heart-rending, true to life, and as unrelentingly honest in its portrayal of the infatuated Edward Johnson, would-be engineer turned stockbroker, who is first initiated into furtive and daring sexual encounters with his best friend Phil while on a couples holiday in French wine country, but which leave him unfulfilled, frustrated, and rebellious; ripe for a head-on collision with the Alex, the socially-awkward teen son of his new neighbors, who have moved into his exclusive neighborhood to further Alex's academic career by way of St. Peter's Upper School in preparation for admission to Oxford.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Conformity, thy name is Edward Johnson, stockbroker, family man. Aside from a friendship with benefits with his neighbor, he's the picture of standardized suburban success. And why shouldn't he indulge? It's not like either Phil or Ed's wife will give them oral sex, and it's really the best way to cap off a round of golf. His life is stable with this unconventional arrangement until Phil and his wife move away.

The new neighbors don't fit the neighborhood: he's an engineer (how shocking! He works with his hands!) and she's a nurse (extra shocking! She works!). They've come to a neighborhood nearly beyond their means in order to get their beloved, brilliant son into the best school, hoping to prepare him for the best universities.

Alex is a youth born too soon for the love he's about to encounter. This is 1962, he's still under-aged, and he's gay in an exuberant way that it hurts him to hide. He's on the cusp of adulthood, knows what he wants, and what he wants is Ed. It's fitting that they begin to bond over his huge set-up of model trains: too serious to be toys, too playful to be work, but an acceptable reason for a thirty-three year old man to spend time with a seventeen year old boy.

This is told as Ed's memoir, which gives a definite air of doom from the very beginning. From his intermittently frosty relationship with his former tennis-pro wife, his indulgent irritation with his young twin children, to his strangely lopsided relationship with Phil, Ed is bored and primed for a grand passion, but given the times, his lover, and his self-delusion, there isn't a bit of hope that this will end in any way but tears.

And I cried, oh I cried.
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Format: Paperback
Webster defines "inexorable" as "not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped : relentless." That describes "Junction X" perfectly.

British Family Man Ed has the perfect life, to all outward appearances: Success. A good marriage to a beautiful and woman. Twins he loves. Friends. Respect. And as the reader would expect, this man with the perfect life, has a dark secret: his dangerous, strictly-for-pleasure relationship with Phil, a former neighbor and long-time male friend. Love never enters into their relationship, though Ed has a guilty conscience that pokes at him a little--something Phil seems to lack--just not enough for him to call a halt to his risky behavior.

Everything changes when Ed glimpses and then later meets and gets to know the new neighbors' eighteen-year-old son, Alexander. Alex is beautiful with the fleeting and impossible beauty of the very young. Ed is a bit stunned by the speed and completeness of his sudden infatuation with Alex. In no time at all, Ed starts to build "what-if" fantasies about Alex. There is, he convinces himself, no harm in it. No one will ever know. But not long after, it becomes apparent that Alex is constructing his own fantasies ... about Ed. During this time,

Alex becomes is befriended by Ed's wife and idolized by the twins.
The inevitable first kiss, given by Alex, throws open the door which hides the impossible fantasies and they become real, taking shape in secret, furtive meetings. Inevitably, there is one tryst too many, one scheme too many, one deception too many, one declaration of love too many, one denial too many. It's inevitable that the fragile house of deception will crash around them. It's inevitable that someone will pay for the crime of love in all the wrong places, with the wrong person.
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