A great literary thriller – is it gay?

thedestroyers_bollen

I wish the protagonist in The Destroyers was gay. Sharply, strongly, sassily gay. Since the author Christopher Bollen is gay, I expected (or at least hoped) that his main character Ian Bledsoe would be too.

Ian’s sexy, smart, screwed up and strangely likable. Ian goes for girls – but has a sharp eye for the men around him too. He admires men’s muscles, watches a gay couple have sex, and eyes his best friend’s below-the-belt wardrobe malfunction, comparing his friend’s scrotum to a newborn’s head.

The novel is a beautiful escape to the Greek island of Patmos interrupted by some hot takes on New York City. This line was one of my favorites: “The only redeeming quality left in a New Yorker is their ability not to take up space.”

The book reads a bit long to me, but the reader’s patience are rewarded with reflections on “all the jobs that growing this 1.5 oz. bag of potato chip to the beach grass of a Greek island . . . ” and the hymn On Eagle’s Wings.

Bollen dedicated this book to his agent Bill Clegg. Bill Clegg’s memoir Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is a great gay memoir.

I like that this book makes reader’s question what a queer novel is or what it might be. Is a novel about gay men written a straight man, like Call Me By Your Name, any more or less gay than a book written by a gay man about seemingly straight men?

 

2 thoughts on “A great literary thriller – is it gay?

  1. BeachReads62

    Thanks for clarifying Chris!!! I probably won’t read it. Any other suggestions with more of a gay storyline? You were right on with CMBYN. Did you see the picture yet?

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    1. gochrisgo75

      Hey Beach, What are you reading? Do you read mostly gay books? Yes, I’ve been Call Me By Your Name and I read it too.

      Give The Destroyers a shot if you have room for it on your reading list. I think there’s a great gay sensibility running through the book – even if no one is explicitly gay. I think this is part of the (closeted?) tradition of thriller novels – from Pirot to Patricia Highsmith.

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