A Density of Souls – Christopher Rice

ADOSA group of boys trying to be men and some of them in denial.

I am not sure about this for style: ‘sunlight dappled across the uneven asphalt of the flora-trimmed streets’

Stephen has a slender back and a shock of blond hair. He locks eyes with Greg, they graze noses. He feels that if he is strong enough he cannot be destroyed by others’ cruelty, takes a photo of Jordan Charbonnet, throws a coin in the Trevi fountain and sees beautiful Italian boy (haven’t we all?). When it snows, he is so close to Jeff that their mouths nearly kiss. He says that he ripped Jeff’s stomach open (why?). Then the doctor says Jeff has an ulcer – high stress? Is that what it means by his ripping it open? He has no notion of a gay community, just the memory of Jeff in back seat when he undoes Jeff’s fly with his teeth. He is afraid to wank because of what he thought about but has attended circle jerks.

Jeff works on the gay scene (where people can spot ‘foreigners’). Stephen tells him of his allure as straight but that it will wear off. They become lovers until Jeff is killed by the Army of God, a religious fundamentalist group.

Greg’s arms looked broader beneath the soaked sleeves of his T shirt. He was a homophobic bully at school who supposedly killed himself but Meredith shot him for trying to rape Stephen (having previously slashed Stephen’s tyres and sprayed obscenities.

Jordan is told that he is a walking wet dream. He has had blowjobs at school but Stephen challenges his view of emotionless sex between guys. Neither he not Stephen know that they share a father

Rain soaked through Brandon’s T shirt revealing hints of muscles developing across his shoulders. He had taped an insulting paper to Stephen’s bag and tells Stephen devil is in him and Greg was a meal

Meredith ‘Had to be a world known only to boys’ and he thought about Jeremy Conlin that it took a lot of guts to shoot yourself. ‘Fear cannot touch me it can only taunt me.’

Seven-year-old Alex Darby admires his big brother and is anxious not to miss a game but there is an accident and he falls out of the mini van. His mother has to be removed screaming from the funeral and his classes are cancelled.

Melanie tells Jordan he has made things into a story.

The memory of Jeremy broods through book like the bell tower – to a child no yet born, his boxes taken to be saved from hurricane.

When asked in 2002 about “being pegged a ‘gay writer,'” the author replied: That’s not what I do. I might be more open to that label if I hadn’t introduced ensemble casts of characters. Granted, A Density of Souls is as close to a gay book as you can get. It revolves around a character’s homosexuality, and others are described in terms of their reaction to the one character’s sexuality. In that sense it’s at the core of the book. The Snow Garden is about identity. With this book, I’m trying to shrug off the term “gay” author.

In 2000 when he was 22, his mother, novelist Anne Rice, slipped into a diabetic coma. It was, then, that he moved to New Orleans to care for her and wrote this his first novel, at her bedside.

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