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Alexis Hall

AJH diligently fails to get to grips with yet more social media.

Sutphin Boulevard

Sutphin Boulevard - Santino Hassell Disclaimer: I am all up in Santino's face. We co-run a Facebook Group.

So I am pretty fucking biased.

However, I kind of feel there's a ... natural limit to the affect of bias. I mean, if someone I had friendly type relations with had written a shitty book, I'd probably just tactfully not mention it. And also this book is kind of WHY I am up all in Santino's face and why we co-run a Facebook Group.

I, err, I really like it.

I think it's brave and unusual and heartfelt and romantic and true. I read it literally one sitting. And I usually only do that for Carolyn Crane.

There's a lot in this book that would seem, on the surface, rather inaccessible to me. I've been to New York exactly twice in my entire life and each time I was in the process of getting on plane that would take me somewhere else: I think the longest I've been there is two hours and thirty five minutes.

So basically what I"m saying here is that it might as well have been set on Mars. But what is wonderful to me about this book is that it perfectly marries the specific and universal. I understood its motifs and its people and its landscapes and its journeys. And I didn't feel alienated, I felt ... spoken to.

That is a rare and beautiful and particular thing in a genre that doesn't always seem that interested in seeing me or speaking to me. And I'm grateful. I'm so very grateful.

What Sutphin Boulevard achieves - as far as I'm concerned - is that it is at one truly romantic and truly queer. It compromises on neither front and, consequently, marries both brilliantly and without compromise. There is nothing here that yields to convention, denies the essential complexity of people and communities, or takes the easy way out of anything.

Most simply: it's a love story about people I recognise living lives a little bit like mine.

If I gave stars, I would give this all the stars. And then some more stars.

For slightly more coherent reviews, I would check out Lenore, Ed and Anna.

Oh - I should also qualify that while I am personally all up in Santino's face, I had nothing to do with the book at all. My contribution, if so it may be called, is basically limited to saying 'nice V-cut' when I saw the cover.