Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Margins of Tolerance Hardcover – May 30, 2012
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
About the Author
Eric Sasson received his M.A. in Creative Writing from New York University. In the past few years he's received scholarships from and attended the Aspen, Sewanee, Key West, Squaw Valley and Southampton writers' conferences, as well as the Summer Literary Seminar in St. Petersburg, Russia, for which he was a competition finalist. His story "Floating" was named a finalist for the Robert Olen Butler prize. Other stories have appeared in The Nashville Review, BLOOM, The Puritan, Liquid Imagination, Alligator Juniper, Trans, The Ledge, MARY magazine and The 2nd Hand. He's honored to have been awarded a 2010 residency fellowship to the Anderson Center in Minnesota, where he completed an edit of his first novel. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Here are some of the notes I jotted down as I read:
Damn, this makes me think twice about the guy jammed up against me on the plane out of Hartsfield.
I'll bet a cool part time job would be as a hotel clerk in a foreign country, at least for a week.
I could call this a road map to a gay man's life, with highlighted routes... and asterisks to mark the things you REALLY shouldn't miss long the way, or I could just say this book is filled with great writing and unforgettable characters.
I felt that uncomfortable squirm in That Perfect Poison, and The World Needs Every Body. It's the squirm you feel when the narrator's "going there," whether you're ready or not, when you don't like the outcome, but you can't change it. I think that is a brilliant skill.
As is the way Sasson let me in secret travel techniques and the crap regarding travel that we all love to hate. He mixed it with a multi-cultural experience. that left me feeling wiser having read these stories, bubbe.
There were stories that I didn't want to end, like Floating, and one that felt like a major motion picture, the title story, Margins of Tolerance.
I could not love The Coming Revolution more, unless I could have it read to me again, by Sasson himself, as I reclined on a velvet chaise lounge in Idaho with a large glass of Pinot Noir in one hand and a Gauloise in the other.
To synopsize. You owe it to yourself to buy this book, and share it with your friends- gay, straight, world wanderers or arm chair surfers who are not certain of their sexuality. This is a one size fits all piece of work. Now go find the review's title line in his book.
Then I think about the things they have to put up with which make their lives so full and rich, and I decide I'm not so jealous after all.
Now, I don't know if my friend Eric Sasson has been to all the places his characters visit in his short story collection Margins of Tolerance - although I know he's well traveled. But if he's been to even HALF of them, then I'm jealous once again, and not of his experience as a gay man, but of his experience as a world traveler. I've been a LOT of places, but now that I have two school-aged kids, I don't get to go to far away places so much anymore.
What Eric has done with Margins of Tolerance is brilliant. He's taken those two things I'm jealous about - his experience as a gay man and his experience as a traveler - and combined them into a rich and varied commentary on things which transcend ALL experience.
Two common threads run through each of the stories contained in this volume: the first is that every protagonist is a gay male. (I think that's obvious from the things I've implied so far.) But if these stories focused solely on what it's like to be gay, then I think it would be easy to dismiss Eric as a writer who's found a comfortable niche - something to fall back on and rely on and repeat. I know some writers who happen to be minority, and who inhabit THAT personae in all of their writing - to the point that, even though I sympthasize with them and support them, I sometimes find their reliance on their status tiresome and uninventive.
Eric doesn't do that. The SECOND thread which runs through Margins of Tolerance is how very DIFFERENT each story is. The protagonists are all wildly different - the only things they have in common are their gayness and their maleness. Other than that, they're a different as anybody you can imagine.
The settings are also all different, ranging from a cheap hotel in Peru to a bar in St. Petersburg, Russia to a writers' conference in Lake Tahoe. Eric has evidently visited many of these places, and if he hasn't then he's done his homework - he KNOWS these places in a profound and intimate way, and he uses them to great effect.
Not only are the characters and settings varied - even the style and language change from story to story. This is no small feat, I can tell you from my own experiments in changing style, voice, and cadence between stories. It's very difficult to be tongue-in-cheek and sassy in one instance, then somber and melancholic in another. Many writers can't pull off first person, and others revel in it. To see a single writer pull off such a variety of styles in such a small space is somewhat astounding.
Finally, the themes in Margins of Tolerance vary as well. I recently reviewed a book of short stories, that while enjoyable and worth reading, did dwell a lot on a number of contained and related themes. Margins of Tolerance defies that as much as it defies any other border. It's a great irony and a triumph of sorts that this book, which sets itself up to be about the lines we as humans draw in the proverbial sand, crosses those lines again and again.
The power of Eric's stories here are that each disparate piece - the characters, their situations, the setting, and the themes - are perfectly put together. Like a talented confectioner building the perfect cupcake from scratch, Eric somehow knows that THIS person experiencing THIS emotion and circumstance in THIS particular place will yield THIS transcendent message for the reader.
Some of these stories will disturb you - especially if you're homophobic. Some of these stories will offend you. Some of these stories will make you cry, some will make you groan, some will make you shiver, and some will make you stand up and say "YEAH, that's how it is!"
All of them will make you think - about your own person, about your own surroundings, and about the margins which you have established regarding your own tolerance.
And if you're me, they'll make you jealous.