Friday, July 10, 2015

Like They Always Been Free

Georgina Li
Queer Young Cowboys
Reviewed by Nancy
5 out of 5 stars


Men play guitar at bonfire parties and find comfort in parking lots. Soldiers find sex and love amidst a devastated America. A shape-shifting surfer hunts a man he can’t stop thinking about. A magician follows the secret messages beneath the graffiti and signs of an urban landscape. A young woman traces the story of her grandfathers: scientists and lovers who established a new colony on a distant moon.

Georgina Li writes with humane poetry, capturing both the profane staccato of soldiers and the blown-grass whispers of country boys. In these eight short stories, Li explores the literal and metaphorical wars of men: on the battlefield, in poverty, and of the heart. Her men are complex, covered in grit but filled with love.

Li’s work slides comfortably from genre to genre, proving that good storytelling is good storytelling regardless of literary conventions.

My Review

I love short story collections, but I am always a little hesitant about trying a collection from a writer I know nothing about. Getting the opportunity to read it for free and knowing it was a finalist for this year’s Lambda Literary Award for Gay Romance gave me that extra push I needed.

Though these eight stories explore the vagaries of love and lust, classifying this collection as m/m romance is reductive. These gorgeous, sensual, and unforgettable stories easily transcend into the literary realm. They are loosely constructed, each one unique, and the characters wonderfully real and very much alive. Their love is a tangible thing, powerful, emotive, and natural. There were times I hated leaving the characters behind, but had no trouble getting immersed in the next story.

Georgina Li’s writing style is fluid and never gets bogged down in extraneous details or too many adjectives.

My favorites are Closer to the Sky; Spill Your Troubles On Me, Love; Shark Bait; and Notes of the Founders.

If you are tired of the usual m/m romances, give this one a try. This rich and diverse collection surprised me in only the very best ways.