A Member of the family: gay men write about their families

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Dutton, Nov 1, 1992 - Family & Relationships - 309 pages
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In A Member of the Family the most talented gay writers of our time turn their hearts and psyches inside out to show us the families who gave birth to them, raised them, rejected them, exiled them, and loved them. There are no stereotypes here. Each essay, commissioned specifically for this collection, describes a family that is unique and so idiosyncratic that it can belong only to the author - and so familiar and universal that it reminds us startlingly of our own. John Preston begins the anthology with the question interviewers still ask him: "What do your parents think?" Then he remembers his past, the angry letter he left for his parents the day he moved out of their home forever, and the unsuspected impact that letter had on his younger brother. Other authors write too of letters they left or sent, of hurts they gave and received, of reconciliations and unresolved conflicts. The results are extraordinary. Michael Nava writes of his stoic, enigmatic grandfather, embittered in middle age and a living portrait of the man Nava himself might become; Eric Latzky, on the other hand, makes the heart ache with his portrayal of his grandfather, Louis; and Larry Duplechan mixes laughter and tears with his hard-edged, wise-cracking description of his mother, who called the love of his life "crap" and said learning he was gay was like hearing he'd been killed in a car crash...but he was still her baby. Growing up with parents who survived the Holocaust left Harlan Greene with different kinds of scars; and Brian Kirkpatrick has created a brilliant gem of introspection, fantasy, and pain about the mother who abandoned him in a Catholic orphanage. Through their daring honesty and exceptionaltalents, each of the twenty-four authors has created modern American literature out of autobiography with masterfully rendered episodes that risk exposing so much about their lives, and in turn, effectively reveal to us much about our own. A deeply emotional and beautifully conceived collection, A Member of the Family raises simple truths about our families to the universal truth of art.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lilithcat - LibraryThing

Essays by some two dozen writers, from Michael Nava to Steven Saylor, about their relationships with one member of their family and about, as Preston puts it in his introduction, "being human in our world". Read full review

A Member of the family: gay men write about their families

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Preston, editor of Hometowns ( LJ 8/91) and The Big Gay Book (NAL, 1991), has brought forth a new collection that examines the intensely personal and often painful relationship of gay men with members ... Read full review


my brother and the letter john preston
my grandfather raymond acuna michael nava
revisiting my grandfather

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