I had a gay reader refuse to beta read one of my novels.
He generally loves my work but this story had a bisexual hero. He is an older gentleman and reasoned with me that he’d spent a lifetime reading novels with straight protagonists. There’s an explosion of gay literature to enjoy now with the advent of self-published authors and smaller presses using the ‘print on demand’ sales method. He’s spoilt with gay literature in a way he hasn’t been for most of his life.
For the uninitiated, there are several queer publishers such as NineStar Press, Bold Stroke Books, Dreamspinner Press and various others. You can take your pick in reading mm romance, science fiction, magic realism, or any other genre you usually enjoy.
In this post, I’d like to recommend two of my favourite novels in recent years.
I’d read reviews of Jonathan Kemp’s London Triptych so when I saw a copy staring me in the face in a Canadian store, I had to pick it up.
Make no mistake, this is a novel about three tragic queens set in three distinct time periods, but it’s a joy to read.
We first meet overly sensitive Colin, trapped in fear during the 1950’s. He’s a man who has suppressed his homosexuality through a marriage of convenience and a lack of any type of sex life. It’s not until he finds a young nude model to paint that he confronts his desires.
Next we meet David, a man in jail in 1998, recalling his life during London’s punk/new wave/new romantic period. He lives in a time when being gay wasn’t easy, and we soon learn that he is in jail for trusting and falling for the wrong man.
Then we have Jack, the sassy rent boy from the 1890’s. Unlike the other characters, Jack is blessed with a network that enforces his identity without guilt. He lives in decadent times, as long as he has someone like Oscar Wilde to foot the bill. But like the others, Jack too falls from grace.
The second novel is Puppet Boy by Christian Baines.
This is not your average gay tale. It’s the story of Eric, a teenage school kid and gigolo who has an unpredictable girlfriend with damage of her own, and a dangerous housebreaker tied up downstairs. Oh, and he has the house to himself for a while as his mother runs off chasing her dreams.
But there’s a new boy in his class. Julian is a wannabe actor and a natural frenemy to Eric, even though Eric is attracted to him. But Eric is the type of teenager who likes to stay in control.
These are just two books I recommend, but there are plenty out there.
Simply type ‘gay’ into the search field of Amazon and you’ll start discovering something you will definitely want to read.