- File Size: 848 KB
- Print Length: 228 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1509207449
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc (April 27, 2016)
- Publication Date: April 27, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01CWH7NMQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,556 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$13.99|
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Surfacing Kindle Edition
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This man's journey of self-discovery engages the reader immediately and holds the reader's interest. His attempts at understanding himself and finding his way along a path have the real feeling of adulthood: accepting one's childhood and one's past, but not being limited by them. Wow, that is an uplifting feeling I wnat to have again and again. I found the book truly engaging and involving. I had it on my phone as a Kindle book and would look for opportunities to read a few pages as I went about my day. I want to read books that make me feel glad I read them. This is one of them.
This book was definitely an exception to that. I found the story very beautiful and intriguing. I loved a lot of the imagery and and felt the characters were fully developed and really interesting.
This is a very talented author and I look forward to his next book!
So, already we know the spine of the plot:
Chris, a 30-something Manhattanite through-and-through, had an extremely successful partner until two years prior to the start of the novel. In addition to their once-in-lifetime love for each other, they had everything two such successful gay partners could want, including a beautiful penthouse on the Upper West Side – and a young son, a young son who completed their love, their lives. Until both his son and his partner are killed by a drunk driver, leading Chris into a two-year period of abject grief, suffocating grief, nearly lethal grief. But two decades earlier, he’d spent summers in northern Maine with his grandparents, who’d owned a cabin on a lake in the woods. And about a decade earlier, his grandfather had died and left the cabin to Chris. It’s been sitting there since without a visit from him, though he remains in touch with a few locals from the area, paying them for their upkeep of the place. Knowing now, two years into the deadening grief, the grief which has left him lifeless, that he needs a drastic change to bring him out of it, to bring him back to the world of the living, he decides to put the penthouse on the market and move to the ready-made cabin. Clothes, his dog, his car: that’s all he needs – except for the urns of his lost lover's and son’s ashes, which he’s never been able to scatter.
Once there, he settles in, reacquaints himself with the pure beauty of the area, the vast woods, the lake, the dock, the kayak, all of it; he reacquaints himself with the delightful locals who knew him as a child, too; and he meets new people, new locals, along the way, including the single 30-something man who lives in a cabin just across the lake from him: Jake.
That’s as much of the plot as I’ll describe.
Now, without being overly redundant based on the other positive reviews (let me simply state that I’m in full agreement with every reviewers’ comments about why they liked the novel), let’s see if I can add anything new…
What I loved about “Surfacing”:
I loved, first and foremost, the WORLD of the novel. I don’t mean Manhattan or Maine, the city streets or the lake in the woods. I mean something else entirely, something difficult to express, something you so rarely see in novels, films, theater. It’s so rare, in fact, that off the top of my head, I can think of only two examples, which I know doesn’t help. However, they are a novel called “Almost Like Being in Love” by Steve Kluger (which I’ve also reviewed on Amazon, years ago) and a film called “Big Eden.” What’s remarkable about each is that, while they are primarily gay romances filled with romantic straight duos as well, they are totally devoid of homophobia. Gay/straight is simply not an issue, so the WORLD I’m trying to describe is one in which NO ONE EFFING CARES ABOUT ANYONE ELSE’S SEXUAL PREFERENCE. It’s a future world, perhaps – but let me not go there. Hopefully, you understand what I mean. A world in which, when I was young and just coming out, I might have been able to hold a boyfriend’s hand in a movie theater – like ALL straight couples could do – without feeling terrified that if I did, the two of us risked the odds of being slaughtered in some dark corner of the parking lot afterward. ‘Nuff said. But that idyllic world is the world of this novel, and I loved-loved-loved that world. I want to move to that world. ASAP.
I loved the emotional levels of the story, the characters within the story. Dotti’s love and concern for Chris are unconditional, not exactly an easy thing to have come across successfully in a novel, yet it does here. But then even that is eclipsed by old, blind Eleanor, who adds forthrightness and the calling-out of truths to her love and concern; she’s frank, blunt, but ever so kind. Then there’s Jake, seemingly a free spirit, seemingly low-key and carefree, something of a hippie long beyond the days of the hippies, who’s falling fast in love with Chris and who has old demons of his own, demons Chris might just raise up in him again unintentionally. And Chris, ah, Chris: the emotional barometer of the story, so scarred, so scared, of his grief and what it’s done to him, of letting it go because he feels it would mean letting go of his deceased loved ones, of every one of his own emotions, and now especially of his equally increasing feelings for Jake. The two of them are like magnets switching sides now and then, now attracting each other and then repelling against each other. The resultant tension builds gradually and, toward the end, of course, reaches emotional levels I hadn’t expected. Mr. Stephens, you choked me up, damn you!
I loved the symbolism, the metaphor, of the wolves, the white and the black (no, not good and evil, per se). First of all, it relates beautifully to the area, the locale, Maine, where Indian history and folklore are as deeply embedded as in other areas of the country, ALL areas of the country. Mr. Stephens scatters many references to Indian history and folklore, legends, customs, throughout the novel, and fittingly so – Eleanor’s stories, the sweat lodge – in addition to the wolves and their meaning. And, at the end, he’s even able to use the wolves for a major surprise, one you will NOT see coming but one which will give you pause before resonating back through the entire story. Yes, I LOVED the wolves; the mystery of them, the answers of them. If you write a sequel, Mr. Stephens – and I for one sure would like that, even though I can’t imagine where you could take Chris and Jake to cause them more heartbreak than you already have – all I can say is, there damn well better be wolves. No moose! WOLVES!
Lastly, I loved the fact that the novel maintained the genre of a romance novel as opposed to a more adult novel. Meaning, there are scenes of seduction – one which gets oooooltra-steamy, as a matter of fact, and had me grabbing for the Japanese fan – but no scenes of oooooltra-graphic sex. Maybe it’s me and my tastes, but pornography only truly excited me when I was, oh, 20-something; that excitement ended decades ago. What has never ended, what still excites me beyond a reasonable doubt, is the seduction. I’ve often heard women discuss the sexual difference between men and women thusly: men are more interested in the destination, whereas women are more about the journey to it. Let me side with the women, then, because Lawd Awmighty, take me on the journey and don’t concern yourself about whether or not we EVER reach the destination. So thank you, Mr. Stephens, for providing me with exactly that journey.
It is an amazing book and has so much depth too it.
Jake has been to H€LL and back. He lost his husband and son at the same time to a drunk driver. When he lost them he quit living. He just remained in the time and space but he did not really participate in life any longer. Jake decides to go back home to his grandfathers cabin and try to get on with his life. He never expects to meet Chris. He never expects that the past will follow him and that in order to move in with his life he has to walk out of the darkness and I to the light again.
Chris sees that Jake is struggling and that he is not over the grief of losing his husband and son and he also sees that Jake is drowning in it. Chris tries to be there for Jake but Jake pushed him away each time he lets him get close. It is a constant tug of rope where Jake is concerned.
This was a very emotional read. I enjoyed it so much. Watching these two characters come together even though it was not easy was truly amazing.
Was given this book for free by inked rainbow reads for an honest review
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