Monday, March 20, 2023

Five top books about coming of age queer

Richard Mirabella is a writer and civil servant living in Upstate New York. His stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Split Lip Magazine, wigleaf, and elsewhere.

His debut novel is Brother & Sister Enter the Forest.

At Lit Hub Mirabella tagged five "books about children learning about the troubles of the world, young adults trying to find their place as queer people in a straight society, and a few adults who don’t quite fit into the mold of expected adulthood, who are still trying to shake off the skins of their former selves." One title on the list:
Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih

A coming-of-age novel which finds the characters already grown, but not able to let the pain and trauma of their early lives go. I don’t recall reading a novel which so specifically details a particular delayed adulthood in gay men of a certain age, those who grew up during the AIDS crisis, who encountered the fear mongering and shaming of that time, the trauma of watching men, possible future versions of themselves, dying. Oscar and Sebastian are each dealing with this in their own way: Oscar with partying and lamenting what he sees as the death of gay culture, resisting assimilation, and Sebastian with a desire to connect and settle down. He also envies his young queer students, who are living openly, in a way he couldn’t at their age. This is an uneasy and singular novel of gay life. I found myself laughing and crying with recognition. I don’t need to see myself in a novel, and prefer not to, honestly, but here it was exhilarating.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Let's Get Back to the Party.

--Marshal Zeringue