Silver Publishing, August 2012
ISBN: 9781614955597 (e-book), 9781614957621 (print)
Buy link: https://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/coming-soon-c-2/products_id/1164/?zenid=226c2fd79ef4728e40af352e748a017e
GLBT Bookshelf page: http://bookworld.editme.com/AnelViz
Born and raised in New York and having lived nearly a quarter of his life in French-speaking countries, Anel Viz has made his home in the Midwest for the past thirty-seven years. He is still trying to adjust to the change. Since he started writing creatively some half-dozen years ago, he has published four novels, seven novellas, twenty-two short stories, about three dozen flash fictions, and four prose poem cycles. Now that he has retired, he has no intention of stopping since he has nothing better to do with his time, so he continues to juggle more projects than he can handle in his usual indisciplined fashion. His stories regularly appear in the online magazine Wilde Oats.
Three people trapped in dead-end situations give up nearly everything they’ve ever known hoping to find a better future:
Otis lives alone and without prospects in a dying Nevada village. He has lost hope the man who took advantage of him years ago will return and now dreams of becoming a porn star.
Jared, an abused runaway, can’t stay forever with the kindly trucker who picked him up hitchhiking. They need to find a safe place for him to live.
Larry Jordan, a closeted collector of valuable gay erotica, fears the residents of his conservative, middle-class community will soon discover his secret life. He has just one friend, whom he met only recently.
Three gay men who don’t know each other and never will, but whose stories intertwine in unusual and unexpected ways . . .
What can I say about the book? For one, that whoever reads it is going to be surprised. The blurb is accurate and gives fair warning of the “unusual and unexpected”, but I doubt readers will be prepared for how unusual and unexpected it really is. I suspect they’ll either love it or hate it, and I admit I have misgivings about how it will be received and perceived. Let’s leave it at that, shall we? I can’t give much of it away without killing the surprise.
The first review has already appeared, and I agree with everything it says. (Why wouldn’t I? They liked the book.) The review begins: “Is it short stories or a novel? Yes. Is it whimsical or a dark exploration of gay life? Yes. Is it erotica or literary fiction? Yes.” Other questions in the same vein—for example, “Is it realism or fantasy?”—would receive the same answer. It takes liberties with POV and style—some parts are written in dialect, others in very formal, almost stilted prose. And so on. Yet there is no paradox involved; I simply disregard, or perhaps flaunt, a number of literary norms we take for granted. Is there any reason besides convention a book must be one or the other?
Why write something like this? For the fun of doing something different; to thumb my nose at the “rules”; to push myself beyond my writer’s comfort zone; to shake up my readers with a happily-ever-after, boy-meets-boy story that doesn’t conform to any recognizable formula and keeps them wondering exactly where all this is going while they sense its steady progress toward its conclusion. For the book does end happily, though only a fool would believe it. Yet this fool does.
What gave me the idea? For one, I’m always trying different things. I had four stories on my hands with not much in common—depressing, ominous, fanciful, and screwball—that somehow seemed incomplete by themselves but promised to complement one another if I could figure out a way to fit them together. What will my readers think—that I succeeded or that my book is a hopeless mess? Yes.
Excerpt (from Part II, chapter 1):
Jared hadn't returned yet when Randy got back to their room. He figured the kid must be checking the place out, trying to make up his mind. Let him take his time—Randy had enough to think about and could think better without him there. Only when the sky was getting dark and there was still no sign of Jared did he go looking for him.
He spotted him down next to the corral talking with that Joe from Nevada Lingham didn't trust. They were standing too close for comfort.
"Hey, Jared," he called out, "where've you been hiding?"
Jared broke free from the cowboy and hurried up to Randy. "What all was going on down there?" Randy asked, trying to hide his suspicions.
If his tone had an edge to it, Jared didn't notice. "Nothing's going on," he said.
"Jack doesn't like him."
"I saw that. Can guess why, too."
"He hit on you?"
"Starting to, but I know better than to take him up on it. I mean, he ain't bad looking and he seems nice enough, but I don't like his approach. Too persistent, overbearing. When guys hit on me like that, I know they're looking to get what they can outta me. Not like you, Randy. I can trust you. You're a sweetheart."
"What'd he say, exactly?"
"Just what a good cowboy I'd make."
"I think he has his head up his ass. I'm no cowboy and never will be."
"Why never? What makes you think you can't learn?"
"What makes you think I'd want to? What makes you think I want to leave you?"
"It's not just about what you want, Jared, and it's not about what I want either. If what I wanted was all that mattered, I'd have you riding shotgun with me till I was too old to drive. But we need to think about you, and think seriously. Let's go back to the room and talk it over."
"Talk what over?"
"Your future. We've talked together a lot, had a lot of serious talks, and we've both been honest with each other, at least I think we have. But it's always been about the past, never about the future, never about us."
"We always talk about us."
"You know what I mean. We talk about you and we talk about me, but we don't talk about us. We've never talked about where we go from here, what we're going to do next. Come on back to the room with me. You're not afraid to talk about it with me are you?"
"I am a little, but I knew it was coming. Known for a long time. I've been avoiding it."
"We both have."
Jared followed him back to the room. "Why does the future have to be any different?" he asked when they'd closed the door behind them.