In the midst of troubling times; the best possible gift from The US Review of Books. Here’s what they said about A Book of Revelations: “For fans of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series, this is reminiscent of these books with the intriguing characters and numerous plot lines, albeit in short story form instead of novels.”
by A.C. Burch
illustrated by Madeline Sorel
reviewed by Carol Anderson, D.Min., ACSW, LMSW
“At nine sharp every Sunday morning, Hyman mounted Xaviera for an impressive hour of lovemaking. She was either clueless or astoundingly indifferent to the acoustical vagaries of the old place, for, with each of her frequent climaxes, she screamed ‘Hyman, hold me’ at the top of her lungs.”
In a compilation of eight short stories, this 285-page book is a fun look at a variety of characters whose stories examine life differently than most. Each story has fascinating plots, delightful adventures, and characters who may shock you with the drama, the mundane, fun, sadness, and the spirited life. From the usual to the unusual, the rendering of the bubbling lives of these people will entice you from start to finish, for there is not a weak story among them.
Starting with a humorous tale regarding a nosy neighbor who keeps track of her neighbor’s orgasms on a chalk board, the book takes us through a variety of eclectic stories. Other work includes the sad story of unrequited love of a “beloved female impersonator,” an in-depth, mesmerizing tale of a maestro, and a “social farce” of highbrow (and lowbrow) society. The other four stories include the mystery behind the retirement of a much-loved Dean at a private school, a murder mystery that expands one’s thinking, a sweet story of a family history of loss and love, and a tale of a friendship between two unlikely people including a boring, gay IT director and a straight, married, flamboyant woman. Through the love songs of transgender and gay relationships, we learn that those affiliated with the GLBTQ Community have much to tell and this book manages to do this with humor, style, humanity, and grace.
Extremely well written, both in style and form, these short stories examine the variety within the Community, for there is such a rainbow of diversity within the rainbow of queer life. It can be read all at once or each story can be savored in its own right. For fans of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series, this is reminiscent of these books with the intriguing characters and numerous plot lines, albeit in short story form instead of novels. For younger readers or those not familiar with Maupin’s work, it is a lesson in queer and trans life, with all the ups and downs of humanity. Sometimes raw and painful, sometimes sweet and loving, it encompasses the living and the dying.
Yet this book crosses all genres for it is funny, touching, mysterious, and accepting of who we are as human beings. Those who are not GLBTQ can also learn a lot from this work, for it is a celebration of life with all its quips, queries, and quirkiness. This is not about the gay lifestyle, as there is no such thing, but about the lives of people in all their various shapes, sizes, and colors. This writing will keep the reader engaged from start to finish with laughter, sadness, joy, and celebration. The author notes he “prefers outsiders who defy the odds through wit, humor, and extraordinary courage,” and this work reveals those “outsiders” as well as some insiders. Let’s hope he has more tales to tell and keeps writing these fables.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review