- THE WINNING MANUSCRIPTS (A TIE) -
Alicia Goranson - Franklin, Massachusetts, US
One night in Boston, transgendered twenty-something friends Bit and Devon witness the death of a superhero, a man inside an exoskeleton, and escape with his helmet. As if life as trannies isn't difficult enough for them, they are pursued into hiding by the super's brothers, who believe Bit is responsible for the murder. Bit is kidnapped but released when the true murderer is found, in exchange for the helmet. In the process, she and her friends learn the true reason for the development of the exoskeletons, and their very ordinary creators. Infighting amongst the queers erupts when they realize they must deal with their evolving identities, old girlfriends, and scarce resources. The struggle between the queers and supers comes to a head at a rally in which each side attempts to discredit each other, and it all comes down to a face-off between Devon and the CEO/lead superhero, while the entire queer community watches.
Read an excerpt here.
Peggy Munson - Providence, Rhode Island, US
Origami Striptease is a magical realist, mostly-iambic love story between a writer and an enigmatic wanderer named Jack. The speaker of the novel is a feisty journalist of tell-all porn who seduces borderland boys--trannies, butches, and daddies--and doesn't know how quickly she will inhabit the margins she writes about. A sadistic injury inflicted by a semi-famous rock star named The Sludge pushes her into the hermetic world of illness, where she first encounters Jack, who suffers from a mysterious heart condition that piques her interest. They have a torrid, troubled affair that begins to unravel when Jack develops a bizarre obsession with ice cubes, ice sculptures, and Greenland. When Jack leaves, the despondent writer invites The Sludge back into her life, hoping to buy redemption. The two explore various mythologies of forgiveness and compassion that result in tragic consequences. Finally, love is stripped down to its component parts--the surreal explorations of the mind, expectations of boys and girls, the essential rhythms that underpin expression, and the pathogenesis of damage--and the characters mine meaning out of their broken bodies.
Read an excerpt here.
- THE FINALISTS -
The Adventures of Aimee and Maya
Louise Bierig - Media, Pennsylvania, US
When teenagers Aimée and Trish--13 and 11--lose their mother to cancer, their eccentric Aunt Maya, who they have never met and barely heard of, drives them cross-country from their home in Bay City, Michigan to hers in Oakland, California. Along the way, the trio encounters characters who bring Aimée closer to her aunt and push Trish further away. After bearing the brunt of her mother's two-year illness, Aimée is happy to let someone else take control. Trish, who wasn't as prepared for her mother's death, rejects her aunt. In Oakland, Trish finds what she had in Bay City--church, friends, and adoring teachers--while Aimée, used to being friendless, spends her time considering what it means to be abandoned (quite literally by her father, more figuratively by her mother) and adopted (both by her aunt and a series of friends). Slowly, she thaws enough to love her uniqueness and to share love with others. Both outsiders--Maya as the black girl in a white family, and Aimée as a lesbian in a conservative Christian family--the pair begins a series of adventures that ends with them realizing the fluidity of sexual identity.
Read an excerpt here.
Star of Persia, A Post Queer Love Story
Bianca James - Kyoto, Kyoto Fu, Japan
Cherie is a 23-year-old baby butch living in Berkeley, nursing the wounds of a stale break-up. She's shaken from her rut when 17-year-old Japanese-American metrosexual Martin rides into her life on a cherry red Schwinn cruiser, bearing clove cigarettes and hash. Martin becomes Cherie's partner in crime as they eat fried food, watch trashy TV, and go on a quest to find the biggest dildo in California. Martin is secretly smitten by Cherie's androgynous wit, but daunted by barriers of age and gender. It takes a pilgrimage to the Liberace Museum in Vegas for Cherie to realize she reciprocates his feelings, but with Cherie's ex-girlfriend back in the picture and Martin's plans to move to New York for school, it might be too late. They are both forced to re-examine their preconceived notions of sexuality and gender in order to save their friendship and create a relationship that transcends labels.
Read an excerpt here.
Elaine Sutherland - New York, New York, US
In its most preposterous denial of the obvious since Galileo's astronomy, the Catholic Church continues to ignore the blatant homoeroticism of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling. Yet the single most powerful Renaissance sacred painting not only writhes with beautiful naked men, it presents an Eve clutching the hand of a woman temptress. In the doctrines of medieval Catholicism, flesh is a dangerous thing. In the emergence of humanism, so also is the mind. Michelangelo struggles with both. Adrianna Borgia, survivor of the Borgia court, presents Michelangelo with the greatest temptations of his life while struggling herself with forbidden desires and heresies. Her growing passion for the painter Raphaela Bramante mirrors the sculptor's damnable interest in a castrato in the Sistine choir and in the ideas of secular humanism. In the corrupt world of Renaissance Rome at the brink of Protestantism, four troubled lives entangle, damage and elevate each other, and together finally give rise to Michelangelo's stunning frescos. Claimed as the epitome of Christian inspiration, the ceiling is revealed as a coup of erotic art upon religion, a testament in the very heart of the Church to thought, not dogma, and to a love which throughout history could bring torturous death.
Read an excerpt here.
Royston Tester - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Enoch Jones, "lost and found" attendant at Toronto's Union Station, has recently returned to the city from Birmingham, England. It's May 1999. After a month spent clearing his widowed mother's house--and avoiding her funeral--he discovers that his twenty-something Brazilian lover, Adão, has stripped their apartment to its bare bones; and disappeared. As Enoch prepares to do his weekly drag act at a local Latin nightclub, he recalls the events and memories that have dominated his four solitary weeks in the grimy Midlands city: his childhood arrest and incarceration for violent petty theft; his search for a birth-mother when he lived briefly in Franco's Spain; his painful struggle for a sexual identity and for a country to live in. As for Adao? You'll find out.
Read an excerpt here.
- THE SEMI-FINALISTS -
The Magic Fish
Louise Bierig - Media, Pennsylvania, US
The summer she is eighteen, Erika Zimmer's schedule flows along as easily as summer itself. She sketches in her stepmother's rose gardens, walks her four-year-old sister, Marie, to day care, drives to the beach to eat lunch with her lifeguard boyfriend, then works her evening hostess shift. One day at the beach, her summer schedule is disrupted by her introduction to Dorothy Kuebrick. When the two girls begin dating, Erika's relationships with her long-distance mother, her father, and her stepmother, Lynn Maguire, begin to change. Eventually pushed from the house by Lynn's anger and Erika's desire to complete a painting internship in Paris, she flies to France where she learns why her mother left her as a young girl. Though she discovers the truest version of her mother she has ever known, she loses her father to a work-related accident. Faced with the decision of remaining with her mother or going home, she decides to return to the States to nurture her sister. Upon her return, she lives with her grandparents. Meanwhile, Lynn refuses Marie contact with her sister and grandparents.
The story ends with hope, as Erika briefly reunites with both Dorothy and Marie.
Queer Body Narratives
Monica Fauble - Asheville, North Carolina, US
Queer Body Narratives, composed in short vignettes, discusses the interplay between gender, sexuality, and disability. The speaker has a rare medical disorder that causes one side of her face to deteriorate during adolescence. She has several plastic surgeries to cosmetically reconstruct the left side, and she struggles to decide how to handle the structural damage. The experience of her illness leaves her with a queer perspective on life, physicality, identity, etc. She identifies strongly with other marginalized groups and finds that she has trouble fitting the codas of any singular identity. She struggles with and represses her lesbian desire throughout adolescence, comes out as a lesbian in college, but discovers that her emotional and cultural identity is more aligned with that of gay men. She ultimately begins sleeping with men in addition to women, and her lesbian comrades accuse of her straight behavior. This novel covers the concept of "hidden disease," diseases that aren't always visible or easily named, and the emotional baggage that comes along with illness, with looking straight when you're queer. Because her illness takes several years to diagnose, and because she finds many identity labels constrictive, much of this works discusses the nuances of language, naming, and possession.
Honesty Among Thieves
Shannon Herbert - Chicago, Illinois, US
Set against the ambient violence and beauty of New York City, Honesty Among Thieves tells the story of siblings Darren and Suzanne Matheson living together in Brooklyn. The two are engaged in a project to create a "living globe," a detailed, scaled representation of the earth inspired by the panorama of New York City in the Queens Museum of Art. The project is Darren's obsession, but is paid for largely through Suzanne's relationship with Dee, a wealthy older woman. While Darren is obsessed with generating real time images of the entire earth and projecting them onto a material globe, Suzanne is engaged in her own project, an on-line catalogue of her life. Jeffrey and Bryant, are contracted to help them with them project and witness their unfolding imaginations and the destructiveness of Darren's single-mindedness. Bryant also witnesses Suzanne's destructive relationship with Nora, a woman whose identities, both sexual and real, remain indistinct. When Suzanne returns to live with them after a brief hospitalization, they have limited the scope of the project and compromised many of Darren's goals, in order to complete the project. The end of the novel explores the effects of those compromises, culminating in Suzanne's disappearance.
S. B. Jonassen - Brooklyn, New York, US
It is Christmas night, 1979, and Maggie Clearwater--a lesbian high school senior and neighborhood babysitter--has been rifle shot through her back. Falling to the Hartwick family lawn (where she'd grown up playing with the Hartwick children, where she'd later returned as babysitter, tutor and family confidante), Maggie sinks into a coma. As her life lay in the balance, Maggie recalls--with startling clarity--the past four months. Returning to the "big white Hartwick house," Maggie learns the hard way that the Hartwick cohesion was a glittery illusion. As trusted Hartwick employee and friend, Maggie witnesses a myriad of subtle malignancies emerge from below the illusion of idyllic American nuclear family. Adultery, anorexia, and closeted spiritual famine. "Unsayable happenings," Maggie jots in her journal, keeping copious notes. It is enough at first to watch, to listen, to observe. But soon the Hartwick family dynamics trap Maggie in a morality web from which she cannot pull herself free. To make matters worse, Maggie falls in love with an awfully skinny Karen Hartwick, the "most beautiful, most popular girl in school." Can Maggie reveal her newfound secrets to an oblivious Karen without destroying their friendship? Or breaking their newfound trust?
Collin Kelley - Atlanta, Georgia, US
What is a life worth? The four main characters of Conquering Venus will make that determination as they arrive in a tense and bomb-wary Paris in the summer of 1995. Young American writer Martin Paige, still shell-shocked from the suicide of his lover, is filled with equal parts promise and pain. Realizing this combination has rendered him motionless, his best friend, Diane Jacobs, drags him along as she chaperones a group of high school students on a trip to Europe. Diane hopes Europe will act as a catalyst to lift Martin from his grief, but the trip proves to be more than either of them bargained for. Martin finds himself falling in love with one of her students, but David McLaren is unprepared to cope with his burgeoning sexuality. Once they arrive in Paris and check into a tiny hotel, Martin is shocked by a discovery outside his window. Staring him down through a pair of binoculars is a woman he has dreamed about since arriving in Europe. The woman is Irenne Laureaux, a native Parisian who has survived the Nazi occupation and the death of her husband in the chaotic riots of 1968. She lives alone, a prisoner in her own apartment for decades, paralyzed by agoraphobia. Her only companion is a cat and a replica of the Venus de Milo-a sorrowful reminder of a life lost. Irenne and Martin inevitably meet and discover they have a logic-defying connection: a small tribal tattoo on their left hand that means "equal but opposite." The same tattoo that Martin's lover and Irenne's husband also had inked into their skin. David, unable to accept his feelings for Martin, descends into alcoholism and rage that leads to a confrontation that will change all the characters' lives. Arguing on the steps of the Saint-Michel metro station, Martin and David are caught up in a horrifying bomb attack that rocks the city to its core. Liberated by the blast, forced from her own self-imprisonment, Irenne learns her husband's death was not an accident, and dares Martin to acknowledge the role he played in his lover's suicide. Diane, harboring her own secrets and a hidden agenda, takes a drastic step to force David out of the closet and admit his feelings for Martin.
Straight Bashing: A Love Story
Daniel W. Kelly - Elmont, New York, US
20 year-old aspiring actor Peter Dennehy and his widowed mother invite a distant relative to stay with them in their home on the North shore of Long Island. Patrick Erickson, Peter's distant step-cousin, is a stunningly beautiful and charming 25-year-old with plans of attending school in New York. He and Peter hit it off immediately-and bold and proud Patrick slowly pulls shy, innocent Peter out of the closet. As the two struggle with a powerful, sexually charged attraction to one another, Patrick also struggles with his past: a troubled youth spent at a religious all-boys school that led to the tragic, bigoted murder of his first love, Jackson, the only black student on campus, by three fellow students. Patrick's dark side causes him to act out against homophobia in increasingly violent ways-to the point where he begins to go looking for it. And as Peter finds himself falling deeply in love with his step-cousin, he also discovers the monster that lives within Patrick.
Michael A. Kiggins - Nashville, Tennessee, US
Splitf opens in Memphis, Tennessee, on December 27th. Dusk deepens as Bryan
Meeks-a germ-phobic, alcoholic, and possibly HIV+ man-lingers near the
middle of a bridge that spans the Mississippi River. He feels conflicted
about the favor he has done for Stefano Malatesta, so he waits for a break
in the traffic. While he waits, though he hates to admit it, Bryan recognizes that he
wouldn't be here were it not for his rapist: Adam White is also the ex of
Benji Johns; Benji is the man with whom Stefano is infatuated; Stefano's
first gay sexual experience had been with Bryan, which is half of the reason
behind Bryan's infatuation. As Stefano was leaving Benji's home in Little Rock, he'd called Bryan. Now
Bryan has a plastic bag filled with the neck-and-shoulders of a beer bottle
and one of Adam's teeth, both of which he found hidden in Stefano's
townhouse precisely where he had been told they'd be. A week ago-on the night that Bryan refused Stefano's invitation out to the
club to meet Benji, and Adam picked a fight with Stefano-Adam had been
attacked with a beer bottle in a storage room, his upper and lower front
right teeth crudely excised. When Bryan called Stefano back and demanded an explanation, all he got was a
skeleton. Bryan made Stefano, who was then ninety minutes away, agree to
meet beneath the bridge. As the bridge momentarily empties of cars, Bryan uses an unlocked service
access hatch to reach the catwalks. Here, he waits, dressing the skeleton in
muscle, fat, and flesh, hoping he can absolve both Stefano and himself.
Concrete and Glass
Justin Josephnek Klör - Bloomington, Indiana, US
Upon completion of his studies an ambitious youth is introduced to a future
world of "Godly order" and militarism. He takes a position in a treatment
facility for the insane, sexual deviants and anyone who dared to defy the
laws of Great State. Staunchly loyal and desperate for acceptance by his
world, he suppresses his own individuality to the point of becoming insane
himself. He becomes aware of the hypocrisy and subversion of the society he
adores. He commits the greatest crime, and incarcerated, is unaware of the
social breakdown of the world around him. He escapes prison to a world of
chaos and despair. Desperate for purpose and reason her takes the company
of a young boy near death. Together they flee the violence and horrors of
society for a place very different and far away from the struggles,
ambitions, and horrors of Great State.
Michelle Kristel - New York, New York, US
Postponing Joy opens as Kate Connolley and her best friend Natalie Bransfield ponder the mysteries of French kissing. Throughout the summer, their intimate experiment blossoms into a passionate romance. In the fall, they begin high school where they are isolated and alone until Kate's cousin Jack reveals that he and his best friend Danny share their secret. The four play it straight
in school and at home and on Saturday nights they find solace in a gay disco. Throughout high school, Kate anticipates college imagining that happiness waits far from her small town and big Italian family. During Kate's sophomore year at NYU, she and Jack are outed by Danny's mother and subsequently disowned by their families. As college graduation and Kate's happily-ever-after dream nears, Natalie succumbs to societal pressure and ends her relationship with Kate. In the decade that follows, Kate longs for reunions with her estranged family and lost love. In contrast, Jack embarks upon a path of personal and spiritual growth all the while urging Kate to let go of the past and enjoy life. When tragedy reunites the lovers, Kate sees Natalie's truth and finally accepts that the only person she can change is herself.
Hands of Cabal
Wesley Mccraw - Roseburg, Oregon, US
Best friends Lane and Kyle live in paradise, but paradise comes with a price, and after the two live out forbidden fantasies, they are lured into the House of Cabal, a secret acting society that uses a rare bug to grant eternal youth. Thirteen years pass and Everett Grimes, a chaste accountant on the path to the American ideal, finds a riddle that draws him to the House of Cabal estate where chastity is not welcome and ultimate fulfillment is within reach. The influence of the House of Cabal is far reaching, but before all is revealed, unknown forces from within the estate bring the game to an end. Fifteen years later, Chuck Pointer, a best selling biographer, begins an interview with Everett to separate the facts of the estate from the fiction. Chuck doesn't realize that Lane and Kyle, having survived the House of Cabal, have set a trap that results in his wife's abduction. Chuck and Everett try to save her, but secret allegiances are reveled and their plan is thwarted. She is finally saved, not by her husband, but by Lane who sacrifices himself after realizing that his devotion to the House of Cabal was a mistake.
Betsey Odell - New York, New York, US
Madison Burr is a humorous and petite little beach bum with a strong addition to the ocean. She wants to be the ocean. And, this high school sophomore allows it to swallow her whole when she realizes that she is confused about one thing - sex. Will her first time be with Stanley, the quirky senior or Kym her oldest friend who has just recently returned home from London? Madison's best friend, her brother Blake, is in jeopardy of becoming a father and losing his opportunity to attend art school. Madison needs to watch out as well, because getting reacquainted with her long lost friend almost gets her killed - by Kym! The fate of these teens spirals down into a paganistic, scientology scare that alters their lives forever. Madison discovers a cryptic message that leads to a late night séance and safety becomes her top priority - until the girl of her dreams appears, and Madison is ready to get back in the water.
Under the Boardwalk
David M Ortmann - San Francisco, California, US
New Jersey's Wildwood Boardwalk is pivotal in the life of 21-year-old Mikey Gunderson and his alter ego, cabaret sensation The Pink Flamingo; his parents conceive him beneath it, he braves it's roller coasters as a child, finds first love under it, performs in its nightclubs, and finally dies beneath it in a tornado of chaotic circumstances. In narrative flashback, Mikey unwinds the events leading to his death with candor, anger, and a scrappy good humor. He travels from his unplanned conception to his relationship with his teenage parents, through the humorous and painful events of growing up, to his first love in the arms of an older man, and through the betrayals and desperation of young friendships. Seventeen-year-old Mikey finds a career as a Wildwood performer and singer. Miranda, a transgender bartender and Trey, his manager/lover, lead the cast of zany characters who color his life. Mikey struggles to integrate his public persona with his private self while growing up in a small town, developing sexually, leaving home, and confronting drugs, alcohol, and fame. Mikey faces, and makes peace with, these life memories before he dies-fearlessly moving forward with a courage and strength that is ultimately redemptive and liberating.
All We Knew
David Pratt - New York, New York, US
All We Knew follows a group of college seniors through their final semester in 1980, on a campus in upstate New York. Tom Fleming, nearing the end of college, is pushed out of his closet of meager expectations and straitened emotions when he makes friends with Peter, a new student from New York. Challenged by Peter's bluntness, Tom shakes loose from the shadow of his late father, from his mother's demands and the safety of college, and initiates relationships he's never imagined. Susan, the friend he most looks up to, must deal with a relationship she already has -- with a fiancé who can not provide what she needs. As winter becomes spring, Susan deals with her fiancé and with Peter, who's pursued her her over objections. Tom is carving out a future, with desire as his only tool. His relationship with a female friend is shaken by two sexual encounters he has over break; then in April, he's thrown together with a freshman he spent the better part of the year idolizing. Commencement comes and relationships change or fall apart. Our characters make choices, but they leap into adult life uncertain if those choices have been the right ones.
Bob the Book
David Pratt - New York, New York, US
Bob the Book is for sale in a gay bookstore in New York City. He has fallen in love with another book, Moishe, and they seem destined for happiness together. But a freak accident at the bookstore sets in motion a chain of events that separates Bob and Moishe. As Bob wends his way through the world, always hoping to be reunited with his love, he meets a variety of characters, both books and humans. There is Angela, a copy of a Jane Austen novel, and two other separated lovers, Neil and Jerry, near victims of a book burning, nether one knowing if the other is alive, and then the humans, Alfred and Duane, whose on-again, off-again relationship unites and separates several of our book friends. Along the way there are many words of wisdom for those in love or wishing to be, and also a little satire of the gay community, as fitness and self-help books and a copy of Vanity Fair all weigh in. We even hear from Shakespeare and Malory. But will Bob ever find Moishe? Will Jerry and Neil be reunited? What about the human lovers, Alfred and Duane? Read Bob the Book, and see!
The Hundredth Generation
Justine Saracen - New York, New York, US
Archeologist Valerie Foret discovers a tomb and has your basic desert adventure story. Except the hero is a lesbian who falls for a very unsuitable woman, her sidekick is a gay opera singer smitten by the ghost of his own ancestor, and the mummy's ghost announces that the Egyptian gods are poised for their Second Coming. Oh, and Derek's drunken one-night stand in Cairo with the rambunctious Auset has impregnated her with the Sacred Child. All flee into the desert where a mysterious Bedouin woman named Nekhbet kisses Valerie and things get much worse. Through lots of misunderstandings, almost everyone ends up dead.
In the Underworld, Valerie learns she has been chosen to write the Gods' new scripture. But Valerie refuses to be dead, and fortunately Derek arrives to rescue her Orpheus-like, with song. The gods rescue Auset but are annoyed to find her child is a girl. Valerie and Derek arrive with the cadaver of Nekhbet. A grotesque deus ex machina, the dead woman rises up as Nekhbet, the Vulture Goddess of Upper Egypt. She summons the ancient gods to assemble in glowing ranks over the temple and presents the girl-infant as the long-awaited Child of the Prophecy.
J.T. Spencer - Sharon, Pennsylvania, US
When music mogul Alex Corwynn had a headhunter steal grant
writer Megan Beal from another charity for his foundation, he never expected
that she'd make his foundation its first million within a year. Bianca,
Alex's girlfriend, felt threatened by beautiful Megan and literally lived at
Alex's house in White Plains to create household angst. Megan dated a
handsome entrepreneur, Randy Davenport, who was successful, forthright and
possessive. When he left her bruised and cut on the face, an angry Alex
confronted Randy. After Megan ended their relationship, Randy brutally
assaulted and raped her then continued to stalk her. Alex's 16-year-old
daughter, Angela, diverted her father's attentions from his assistant when
she ran off to be a groupie with one of her father's reggae bands. Alex
made preparations for Angela to attend art school and live in Manhattan with
his friend, Brandon Bixley, a single gay man and art gallery owner. Randy
abducted Megan and almost killed her. Spending almost two months
recuperating, Megan challenged herself and her need for dangerous
relationships with her therapist, Ruby. Megan realized that Alex loved her
and that she had to let go of the past to love him and embrace her future.
Bruce Watkins - Burbank, California, US
Gay Men are uniquely capable of deeply loyal, longterm romantic relationships. Over twenty years, Ugo and Mike have become so profoundly yoked that their hidden feelings and secret experiences are communicated to and motivate each other, at an unconscious level. Watch them strive separately with the shadow sides of their personalities, as they grow old together. Their relationship has a mind of its own, faithfully steering them through abandoment and betrayal.
Straight men can reflect and encourage gay men in their mutual struggles. Glen is in his own straight "closet" of his secret heroin addiciton and sexual relationship with the Catholic nun who molested him as a child. Iron sharpens iron as these men buoy each other to uniquely gay and straight solutions to their problems. Heterosexuality and homosexuality emerge as only small parts of the broader gay and straight experiences. Father Len needs the community of the Catholic priesthood and his relationship with Jesus to fully accept himself as a gay man. Omar's sexuality is unclear as he dates the flamboyant Paul, like a "girl friend." Ben's wife has slipped into Altzheimer's disease, as Ben expresses his bisexuality in his affair with Ugo. And, everyone rallies together to save Glen, as he is arrested for the muder of Sister Mary Ann Patrick. FonteMare is a mythical, Southern California coastline town. Her twin hills with whitewashed homes cradle her Riverwalk of sophisticated shops and galleries. Truly, she is the good enough mother environment that nourishes full gay and straight integration.
Mark Wildyr - Albuquerque, New Mexico, US
When he wakes up drunk in a motel room shooting off in some white guy's mouth on his eighteenth birthday, hard-boozing, skirt-chasing brawler, Charley Blackbear, is introduced to a world he sneeringly disdains as Fairyland. Shit, if he hadn't been drunk, it wouldn't have happened, right? Then why does he move on his best buddy and logging partner, Daniel Warhorse? And why did the macho Daniel permit it? Even worse, why does his big cock, which Charley's girl, Boots, labeled 'donkey dong,' react every time he sees Grandma Jones's beautiful teen-aged grandson, Aden? As a Native American whose tribe has no established tradition of Two-Spirit people for guidance, Charley struggles to cope with powerful, newly-awakened emotions in his own bluff, aggressive way and keeps discovering strange things about himself all the way from the mountain timber country where his logging crew works, to the Lazy Eight, the rowdy Indian bar that's practically a second home, to the reservation where he's lived all his life.
Mark Wildyr - Albuquerque, New Mexico, US
Homosexuals have been with us forever; queers, pansies, and fags are inventions of European civilizations. But Native cultures view Two-Spirit people through more respectful eyes. Cut Hand is the story of an unorthodox love between a white youth fleeing to the American frontier to escape is English Tory family's past and a young warrior destined for the leadership of his band. Billy Strobaw's world turns on its axis when he and two companions capture a young brave seeking to evade three enemy warriors. The American's mind and body react in surprising ways, revealing unsuspected truths about himself, in this first encounter with a "pure-quill" Indian. The handsome warrior, Cut Hand, not only earns his freedom, he also steals Billy's heart and prevails upon the young man to live among his people as his winkte (win-tay) wife. The sexuality of the protagonists becomes merely a personal footnote in the struggle of the Plains tribes to preserve a way of life that has served them well for generations. Told partially in Colonial and early American English, the novel follows the lives of these two lovers from 1832 to 1861, thirty tumultuous years on young America's frontier.