The Other Man – Paul Alan Fahey, ed. (JMS Books)

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Buy it from JMS Books

One of the most interesting facets of gay life is how we
handle the relationship, especially when cheating is involved. Some couples
split, others continue, and still others find the parameters permanently altered.
This isn’t to say that the same doesn’t happen to straight couples. I just
happen to think our drama is more entertaining. And you’ll find a lot of
entertainment in the many emotions of Paul Alan Fahey’s extraordinary
anthology, The Other Man.

The Other Man is comprised of memoir—personal essays
from some of our best and brightest writers—regarding what happened to their
relationships when they faced challenges from the other man. And, as expected,
the pieces run the gamut from hilarious to heartbreaking.

The humor base is covered by the opening and closing essays:
Jeffrey Ricker’s “What If?” and Rob Byrnes’ “A Brief History of the Divorce
Party.” Ricker’s piece details his summer of sluttiness with many men, some
involved in relationships, while Byrnes’ breakup with his former partner just
as they’re about to throw a party provides the laughs (though I’m sure some
time and perspective helped).

In between, we find a staggering array of voices. Among my
favorites were R.W. Clinger’s shattering and faintly creepy “In the Brokenness
of Summertime,” Tom Mendicino’s detailing of the adult bookstore experience
that led to his first novel, “Any Resemblance to Actual Persons, Living or
Dead, is Entirely Coincidental,” and Austin Bunn’s confessional “Husbands” (a
weakness we shared at one point).

But there is much more to love here. David Pratt’s “Way Off”
is a beautiful piece about a Broadway career being the other man that breaks up
his relationship with an actor. Lewis DeSimone turns wistful and aching as he
willfully seduces the already-attached Nathan in “Last Tango in Cambridge,” and
Jeff Mann has an unfortunate reunion with an old love in “Thomas.”

Of the twenty-one contributors to this anthology, each
illuminates just one facet of the complex subject of infidelity, and although I
liked some more than others, there’s not a duff piece in the lot. But the only
way to find your favorites are to buy it and read. I guarantee you’ll find
someone you’ll recognize. Maybe even yourself. 

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©, 2013, Jerry Wheeler

 

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