As the film adaptation of the late Patricia Highsmith’s much praised novel titled Carol, (also published at The Price of Salt) is soon due to be released, we have selected some great new fiction that includes gay and lesbian relationships as part of the main theme of each work.
Patricia Highsmith wrote 22 novels in total, with Ripley becoming her most famous character. Carol is a moving lesbian love story and stars Cate Blanchett. It is set in 1950’s New York and tells of a department store salesgirl, with hopes of a better life, who falls for an older, married woman.
Hiding in plain sight / Nuruddin Farah.
“When Bella learns of the murder of her beloved half-brother by political extremists in Mogadiscio, she’s in Rome. An internationally known fashion photographer, she comes and goes as she pleases, juggling three lovers. But with her teenage niece and nephew effectively orphaned, their mother abandoned them years ago, she feels an unfamiliar surge of protective feeling. She journeys to Nairobi, uncertain whether she can or must come to their rescue. When their mother resurfaces, reasserting her maternal rights and bringing with her a gale of chaos and confusion that mirror the deepening political instability in the region, Bella has to decide how far she will go to obey the call of sisterly responsibility. This is a profound exploration of the tensions between freedom and obligation, the ways gender and sexual preference define us, and the unexpected paths by which the political disrupts the personal.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
All I love and know / Judith Frank.
“Matt Greene and Daniel Rosen, a couple in Northampton, Mass., cope with the deaths of Daniel’s twin brother and his wife, Israeli citizens who are killed in a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem. Their will gives Daniel custody of the couple’s children, Gal and Noam, and Matt, who is used to getting by on good looks and charm, isn’t sure he can handle instant fatherhood. But while Daniel and the rest of the family are paralyzed by grief, Matt jumps in feet first to take charge. The couple is thus dismayed to learn that the Israeli courts, which can override wills for the sake of child welfare (or, in this case, homophobia), may deny custody of the children to them because they are gay.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Public sex in Paekakariki : a magical realism tale / Sandi Hall.
“The story follows the adventures of Marla Rivelli, who moves to the village just as its denizens are preparing to fight for a set of traffic lights, and Charles Harrier, who implies he is an IT geek but secretly is a successful art forger. When an unknown, clearly pregnant woman with no visible means of support appears in Paekakariki, she is taken in by part-time nurse Margaret Spindle. But can the woman speak and if so, why doesn’t she?” (Adapted from Book cover)
All decent animals / Oonya Kempadoo.
“A young woman named Ata returns to the economically struggling island of Trinidad. Friendship is at the heart of this story as Ata and her French boyfriend, Pierre; and their friend, Marriette, care for the deteriorating Fraser, a closeted gay man who has AIDS.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Taking the gardener / T.J. Masters.
“Mourning the sudden loss of his parents in a car crash, experienced Dom Eric Broderick escapes London society and his high-pressure law firm and retreats to Glebe House in Pittlesburne, a small village in Buckinghamshire. He tours the nearby woods and the charming village, but it’s really the guesthouse’s garden he’s taken with or, rather, the gardener.” (Adapted from Syneditcs summary)
The days of Anna Madrigal : a novel / Armistead Maupin.
“This novel follows ninety-two-year-old Anna Madrigal, the legendary transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane, as she joins her former tenant Brian on a road trip to Nevada where she attends to unfinished business she has long avoided.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The loud earth / Elisabeth Murray.
“A recluse lives in a mountain cabin above a lakeside tourist town. Acquitted of the brutal murder of her parents, she remains guilty in the eyes of the town. Shut away from their fear and anger, her world is reduced to the landscape around her: the mist across the mountains, the sway of bayonet grass, the clear cry of a falcon. And above all the lake-its colours and rhythms, the answers it seems to hold. But one night a young woman arrives on her porch. A stranger to the town, Hannah doesn’t know the stories told about this outcast. As romance blossoms, the recluse’s violent past won’t stay buried, Hannah unearths memories of shadows and blood.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Last Words from Montmartre / Qiu Miaojin ; translated and with an introduction by Ari Larissa Heinrich.
“Ths author committed suicide in 1995 at age 26, with this novel written shortly before her death and published postumously. Written in the form of letters, the novel vacillates between romantic ecstasy and despair, while a coherent story slowly emerges. As the unnamed narrator pursues graduate studies in France, she grows increasingly alienated from her lovers and family still living in Taiwan. She feels adrift and alone without the love of her life, Xu, and without Bunny, the pet rabbit they cared for together, and she seeks relief from her overwhelming pain.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Adam / Ariel Schrag.
“17-year-old Californian, Adam, is determined to meet the love of his life. He hasn’t even made out with a girl yet, so how does spending the summer with his older lesbian sister in New York City help with his quest? Casey, very much on the gay scene socially and politically, does take him places, and he even meets the redhead of his dreams. But Gillian, an attractive lesbian in her early twenties, beds Adam because she believes his deceitful claim that he is a female-to-male transsexual.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
My beautiful enemy / Cory Taylor.
“Arthur Wheeler is haunted by his infatuation with a Japanese youth he encountered in the enemy alien camp where he worked as a guard during WW2. Abandoning his wife and baby son, Arthur sets out on a doomed mission to rescue his lover from forced deportation back to Japan, a country in ruins. Thus begins the secret history of a soldier at war with his own sexuality and dangerously at odds with the racism that underpins the crumbling British Empire. Four decades later Arthur is still obsessed with the traumatic events of his youth. He proposes a last reunion with his lost lover, in the hope of laying his ghosts to rest, but this mission too seems doomed to failure.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)