Lawrence Schimel brings together yet another interesting anthology of gay/lesbian fiction. A collection of 11 stories that mixes life’s hard-hitting realities with characters dying of AIDS, choosing suicide, struggles of coming out to one’s family and just dealing with the everyday matters of gay life: growing up. And responsibility. Schimel has chosen an excellent combination of stories by authors who touch our intellect with reality then tease our imaginations with the “queer.”
In “Shayna Maidel” we find a Jewish family celebrating the holy Days. In this story we are reminded how even earth shattering family secrets are far too often easier to accept than having a lesbian daughter. The author used a mythical heritage to bring our focus to the irony of family struggles with old skeletons and the perception of alternative lifestyles.
In two other stories we find ourselves faced with the loneliness and desolation of AIDS. We find characters that in their own dying deal with the ghosts of the present and past. Reminding us of the sweeping devastation that HIV/AIDS has created in many lives.
Not to leave us caught in the heaviness of life’s issues for gays/lesbians, Schimel is sure to include lighter hearted stories that bring a smile. Stories that remind us of the daily challenges we all face: taking risks in life and love, being true to ourselves and just accepting life and death on life’s terms.
Schimel has been the editor of over 20 anthologies. The authors he has brought together for this one are a diverse group of talented writers with multiple publications to their credit.
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