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Uncle Barb's

There’s no such thing as autobiography,
there’s only art and lies.

-Jeanette Winterson-


Queer Lit in 2011

Band of Thebes provides some of my favorite queer book commentary. In the article linked here, he discusses the "handful" of queer letters included in recent nominations. That handful includes some mediocre representation, i.e. Michael Cunningham's Nightfall. The Room by Emma Donoghue received the most attention. This book sat on me like a fat man full of contrivance.

I often find myself reminiscent for the 80's when as a professional book buyer there were so many lesbian books being published. Katherine V. Forrest, Jane Rule, Lisa Alther, Audre Lorde, Jeanette Winterson and many others were actively coming out with books during these times.  Additionally, older works were being revived, Ann Bannon's books were re-issued.   A critical milestone was crossed when  Alice Walker's The Color Purple addressed both race and sexuality.

Longing for soul food like Murder at the Nightwood Bar instead I get viscious, morbid works like Blow Fly from lesbian Patricia Cornwell.  Ostensibly straight Sara Paretsky writes better lesbian characters. Rita Mae Brown has devolved into ridiculousness. Sarah Waters continues to write engaging novels and is a bright light in the otherwise foggy world of lezzie lit.  Jeanette Winterson is one of the greatest writers of our time, yet The Power Book which is her most evidently lesbian work of late is frail compared to her other writing. The author who provides me the most solace in my search for intelligent lesbian fiction is Nicola Griffith. I love Aud Torvingen mysteries. I love her confident strength and heady perspective. Griffith's science fiction didn't grab me as much, only in that I appreciate a good writer.

On the guys side of the publishing world there are a few favorites that provide a queer world that I enjoy. Michael Nava has rarely disappointed. His storytelling is just what I need after a long day at work. Christopher Rice can also tell a plausible story and I have enjoyed watching him grow. Alan Hollingsworth works his material with a bit of a heavy hand for me. I liked In the Line of Beauty and hated Stranger's Child. Armistad Maupin is like having a friend that tells wonderful stories.


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