Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Future of Love by Shirley Abbott **

The Future of Love by Shirley Abbott is a literary novel with more erudite introspection than action, more literary references than feelings. This is a genre where self-obsession passes for characterization and quiet desperation passes for conflict. The novel, in three parts is centered around New York City on September 11, 2001.

Part I sketches the unhappy lives of eight New Yorkers. Part II recounts the day, September 11, that changes everything. Part III is an extended post script. In the end, the book self-summarizes like this:
Two gay men, two women about to be married to whatever extent the law allowed, Maggie and Mark in therapy, probably for life, Toni and Ashley content with each other and with the day. A true American family, archetypical not in spite of but because of terminal illness, adultery, sexual nonconformity, a not-too-merry widow, and a newly orphaned child. Would it play in Kansas? China? Kenya? In Saudi Arabia? In Congress? The White House? Definitely not. Still, here they all were. Bush and Cheney did not always win. The Taliban did not always win.
Except for Part II, I found the going slow and tedious.

LGBT Book Watch: The novel includes two gay couples as important characters though the book is not about them. As a literary novel, it has plenty of time to discuss all sides every issue, especially same-sex marriage. I particularly appreciated that when one of the gay men died of a terminal disease, its was cancer, not AIDS.

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