Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Flying a Kite at Night in a Storm

I am not a big book reader, especially fiction. I do read a lot of magazines and newspapers, but the big book is a rarity on my bedside table. When a book comes my way, I have found that biographies, true stories and history are more interesting and more fantastic than any fiction book. For example, I had a period a few years ago when I read the biographies of every English monarch back to George III. New biographies of composer Igor Stravinsky were the last books that grabbed my attention.

Occasionally I am encouraged to read a fiction book through a recommendation. My friend Drake mentioned a book he read and found "fun, a good book to read while lounging in the sun" was his summation. Thus I went to my locally owned bookstore and ordered "Flying a Kite at Night During A Storm" by St Louis based author Thomas Long.

Strange title (descriptive of the situations in which the characters find themselves) but an interesting story well told. Taking a chance and learning to love, live and be human, letting go and recovering after a staggering personal loss. Set in St Louis, with enough local color to be interesting and make the book familiar and comforting to those of us who live in or know St Louis. The story revolves around a central character whose partner is murdered outside their home in a senseless mugging and how this and other events in their circle change them forever.

Many straight persons reading the book would wonder about all the drama that seems to follow the characters. But the gay community can create drama over anything and many of us live with lots of baggage and ghosts. Therefore, I found the characters real and sympathetic. To me the test of a good fiction novel is if you give a damn about the characters. These I did and read the book in just a couple of evenings. Naming the two lesbians Tina and Louise was a great touch. I giggled every time they were mentioned. Those who remember "Gilligan's Island" will get the joke.

A good interesting read; funny at times, thought provoking at others. Highly recommended.

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