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Voice of Force Paperback – October 16, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Paperback, October 16, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

G. Roger Denson has written on art and culture for numerous magazines and journals published on five continents. This is his first novel.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1448661692
  • ISBN-13: 978-1448661695
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,872,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Phillip Anchor on June 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Although a tag for this book labels it as "gay fiction," it is much more than that. In the larger sense, it's really a philosophical novel about sexual difference. For Voice of Force in essence asks some simple questions: Has increased awareness of sexuality and difference truly helped us live more harmonious lives? Or has it merely compelled people to mask the prejudice they inherit from traditions and institutions beneath a civilized veneer?

Increasing tolerance may have softened the fault lines of social prejudice, but author G. Roger Denson suggests that when a public tragedy draws out the voices of discontent, we learn just how deeply homophobia still shapes and enforces everyday life in even the most liberal of communities

We learn this as we watch the evolving relationship of two men, opera tenor Cosimo Fratangelo, who is straight, and openly gay newspaper critic Ragland Hughes. A beautifully written, sometimes ecstatic and mystical memoir draws us in on the relationship that evolves into a naked and raw exposition on two very different kinds of obsession. Then, suddenly, the memoir ends and the entire format of the novel changes without warning.

Without showing us a single criminal act, Denson chronicles what happens before and after one of the two protagonists is killed in presenting a series of newspaper articles representing the media circus that brings to light the forces keeping a gay man and a straight man from enjoying friendship. Thankfully we aren't led through the investigation or trial of the accused man. Clearly this isn't a crime drama or suspensful who dunnit.

Half way through the book, the format changes again.
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Format: Paperback
G Roger Denson is already known as a thoughtful voice in contemporary art criticism and theory."Voice of Force" is his first novel. The international world of Opera is its setting. The book is a compilation of documents: part journal, part news clipping, part opera libretto, part audio transcript and includes a short story that is a real gem woven into the novel. Moving seamlessly through these various forms the novel gives a strange coherence to the way in which our lives are archived and understood at the opening of the twenty-first century. Part love story and part thriller, the novel leads us smoothly through these transitions and we are deftly transported into the realm of obsessive love and desire.

The story begins with discovery by Ragland Hughes, an opera critic, of a young singer at the start of his career. From the first moment we watch the elaboration of what becomes an obsession with the young singer whose career Hughes is in a position to launch and mold until it is self-sustaining and his help is no longer needed. Throughout the story we are privy to the inner world of Hughes - both his passions about art and art history, about travel and place, but above all opera and his young opera star.

The over-arching question posed by the novel is what to make of a homosexual man's love and friendship with a man who is straight. To Denson's credit he does not give us two innocents to contemplate. We have the character of Ragland Hughes, a gay man and opera critic and we have a young, straight, rising Italian opera star - Cosimo Fratangelo. We follow the development of this relationship through the eyes of Ragland Hughes via his journals and later through the eyes of many of his and Fratengelo's acquaintances in the form of documents and audio tapes.
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Format: Paperback
G. Roger Denson's new novel Voice of Force is touted to be about men, but there is a lot said in it about women too.

Written as a dossier of files leaked to the public from the Manhattan Prosecution's office, the contents comprise the history of a controversial criminal case. Diary passages and transcripts of prison conversations indicate that a murder has led to the conviction of a man who maintains his innocence despite that, after three years on death row, he faces imminent execution. It seems the guilt of the accused is one that the witnesses, the prosecution, and the jury hold in consensus. All believe the crime is the culmination of a longstanding sexual predation despite that the evidence is largely circumstantial-based on a diary, a short story and an opera libretto written by the accused, and of course the testimony of so-called witnesses-all of which we read directly instead of reading about.

Despite all this postmodern artifice (which can sometimes be annoying and mundane), the story is compelling for the rich characterizations and prose. Richest of all is what the characters betray about their own backgrounds, with all their ethical and sexual misgivings, and the misinformation the characters spread to make the lives of the two protagonists fit the views of the world they hold. For that matter, by the time you conclude that you're not reading a murder mystery but a story about the prejudice that pronounces who is guilty, you are absorbed by the quality of the writing and the deeply penetrating psychology of the characters. This is especially effective because this is a novel that travels the high road of thoughtful debate the whole way, showing all sides with remarkable clarity yet complexity.
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