A great literary thriller – is it gay?


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?


    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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