NEXT : DISCOVER ONE OF HISTORY'S MOST-CELEBRATED REAL-LIFE ROMANCES ...
OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" - quotes from 24 Amazon USA purchasers ...
JANE (Canada), at Amazon USA
"...I recommend it to any historical fiction fan, especially any fan of the redoubtable Mary Renault. ..."
J.R. Tomlin, author of historical fiction, at :- http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/
"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK, & at : http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1092070.html
" ... an absorbing new book ... compelling writing ... action sequences that are brilliantly staged & paced ... on a higher plane than mere homoerotic titillation ... courageous & convincing ..."
Reader Down Under (Australia), at Amazon USA
"... extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire ... a mix of mystery, comedy, gay & straight romance - is an entertaining read ..."
Laura Staley, Historical Novels Review, USA, at :-
"... an age-old love story with a twist ... an unexpected delight ... his storyline hooked me immediately ..."
Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson of READER VIEWS, Austin TX, USA
"... You will feel engaged and challenged ..."
Nan Hawthorne, author Beloved Pilgrim, at Amazon USA
"... extremely readable ... it's a page turner ... Gardiner has written an interesting & gripping story ..."
Kim at http://www.desicritics.org/ India
"... Five Stars ... a compelling crime mystery ... a hard book to put down ..."
Terence Charters, Hobart, Australia, at Amazon USA
"... An adventure through Hadrian's world. The story is easy to read and full of the homoeroticism that we love about this era. ..."
P. Novotny, London, at Amazon UK
"... a definitive Five Star read for me ..."
Aleksandr Voinov, UK, reviewer at Speak Its Name
"Five Stars ... A masterful recreation of Ancient Rome ... the historical details are a delight ... characters are outlined in a vivid way which is like meeting old friends ... "
Ernest Gill, Hamburg, at Amazon USA & UK
"Five Stars ... as a reimagining of the Hadrian-Antinous relationship in the context of the age it is fascinating."
Muriel Perkins, Texas, at Amazon USA
" ... this is a novel about the nature of love ... but this is far from just being a gay romance. ..." Kit Moss, historical author, at :- http://kitmossreviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-hadrian-enigma-forbidden-history-by.html
"A truly exceptional book on 'What Greek Love" is all about ..."
John R. Shelton at Amazon USA
"Five Stars. I so enjoyed this book. Highly recommend it ... "
NOTE: Amazon USA's & UK's online book & ebook purchase sites with their 25 independent reader's reviews (fourteen awarding Five Stars for excellence!) can be read in full by clicking on :- http://www.amazon.com/Hadrian-Enigma-Forbidden-History/product-reviews/0980746906/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History
(C) George Gardiner
ISBN13: 978-0-9807469-1-4 (at Amazon USA, UK, Europe, Australia etc) in 498-page paperback or Kindle ebook.
The scene: ancient Rome, 130 years after Christ yet two centuries prior to Christianity being legal. Caesar Hadrian is the popular ruler of a vast pagan empire at the height of its power & wealth.
Hadrian, one of Rome's "five good emperors" searches for & eventually locates the love of his life .. Antinous, an elite Greek athlete, huntsman, & cavalry cadet. They become 'companions' under the ancient Greco-Roman mentoring tradition of an erastes (mentor) & his eromenos (student).
During an imperial pleasure tour of Egypt Antinous is discovered dead in the River Nile. Hadrian is distraught. Is the death a drunken prank gone wrong, suicide, murder, or something far more sinister? Hadrian assigns historian playboy Suetonius Tranquillus to investigate.
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is the outlawed record of Caesar's investigation into one of history's most suspicious fatalities. It reveals more than Hadrian may want to know, or wants others to know. Set in a society increasingly reflecting facets of our own times, it portrays an era of torrid relationships, raging ambition, wealth inequalities, & uninhibited morals within a severely macho culture of honor, shame, pride & prejudice.
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COOL GAY STUFF introduces current news, media, & opinion selections in both columns ...
Saturday, February 18, 2017
---- brief phrases from a substantial news report by Kate Mansfield at the Sunday Express (UK), 16 February 2017 :-
'THE Church is fueling discrimination against gay people causing mental health problems, a report has claimed, as the House of Bishops rejects a paper on same-sex marriage.
The study, "In the Name of Love: The Church, exclusion and lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) mental health issues", claims church leaders and churchgoers are responsible for negative messages about same-sex relationships fueling poor mental health in the LGB community. Every major denomination, apart from the United Reformed Church, discriminates against LGB people, according to the report. ....
.... Oasis Foundation founder Rev Steve Chalke said: “It is no secret that the negative stance taken by the Church, and so many individual local churches, has a hugely distressing impact on large numbers of LGB people and leaves countless numbers of them living lives of forced secrecy and dishonesty. .... '
---- see more of Kate Mansfield's challenging report at www.express.co.uk/news at the Sunday Express site at :-
Thursday, February 16, 2017
---- a brief par from a substantial press article about a new tv series on ABC (US), written by Adam Nagourney for The New York Times (USA), published 16th February 2017 :-
'.... A more contemporary examination of gay life in America comes to network television later this month, in an eight-hour avalanche of prime time spread across four nights, and with a decidedly different take on the subject. Written by a prominent gay filmmaker, Dustin Lance Black, “When We Rise” is a 50-year history of the gay rights movement beginning on Feb. 27, told through four characters who suffer — and often triumph over — family rejection, landlord discrimination, gay-bashing, police harassment, legislative defeats and AIDS. .... '
'.... The ABC mini-series “When We Rise” chronicles the development, triumphs and losses of the gay rights. It begins on ABC (USA), Feb 27th, and is likely to screen in other international tv markets subsequently.
---- see Adam Nagourney's complete article about "When We Rise" at www.nytimes.com at :-
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
---- a catalog, with videos, of representative gay romance movies to celebrate Saint Valentine, assembled by Christopher Rosa at GLAMOUR online magazine (USA), 13th February 2017 :-
'Most mainstream romance movies tend to skew heterosexual, which makes picking out Valentine's Day date night flicks very difficult for us queer folks. Sure, I still have fun watching films like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Sleepless in Seattle—but LGBTQ+ people deserve to see themselves represented in rom coms just as much as straight people. This goes double for queer women and trans people, who have even slimmer pickings than gay men when it comes to entertainment.
For the love of Madonna, where are the nuanced, interesting movies about queer love?
Answer: Right here. You have to dig a little deeper, but good romance movies about queer people do exist. One was even nominated for an Academy Award last year (Carol). (Still, it's important to note that most queer films are deemed too niche for mainstream audiences and don't get widely released, which need to change.) Here, a guide to some really great (and Valentine's Day-ready!) picks, no matter what your sexual identity is. ...'
---- [Christopher Rosa's 21 well-selected YouTube video-trailers with brief comments follow in GLAMOUR's attractive post for Valentine's Day 2017. Enjoy!, and thanks to GLAMOUR.]
---- see Rosa's selection at :- http://www.glamour.com/story/queer-romance-movies
Sunday, February 12, 2017
---- selected summaries from an extended analysis of evolving-&-shifting stats, assembled and described by Gabriel Bell at HEATSTREET (USA), 11th February 2017 :-
'.... Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there’s this: According to Gallup, 78% of Americans know someone who’s openly gay or lesbian themselves, be it a friend, coworker, or family member. That closeness, along with all the other factors above, give gay and lesbian individuals an outsized appearance in American culture.
Whatever the actual percentage of gay or lesbian people in the U.S., it’s clear that they’re becoming more of a mainstay in politics and culture, and the majority of Americans support that. According to Pew, 63% of all Americans say that the homosexual lifestyle is morally acceptable, up from 50% 10 years ago.'
---- see more of Gabriel Bell's extensive, well-researched article at HEATSTREET (USA) at :-
Thursday, February 9, 2017
---- the opening phrases of a celebratory article published by the Times News Service in the Times of Oman (Oman), 8th February 2017 :-
'There are many theories on how Valentine’s Day began. The holiday may go back to ancient Roman times, when a festival called Lupercalia was held on February 15. Lupercalia was a celebration honoring Juno, the Roman deity of women and marriage. During the festival, women wrote love notes called billets and put them in a large jar or urn. Each man would select a note and pursue the woman whose name was on it.
Another theory is that Valentine’s Day began with one or more early Christian saints. According to one legend, the Roman Emperor Claudius II (AD 200s) forbade all marriages, believing that single men made better soldiers.
But a priest named Valentine broke the law and married many couples in secret. Another story tells of an early Christian named Valentine who befriended children. When he was imprisoned by the Romans for his faith, Valentine’s little friends gave him notes and cards through his jail window. This may explain the tradition of exchanging cards on Valentine’s Day.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
---- the opening par from a substantial review by Stephen Dalton of a new movie, published at The Hollywood Reporter (USA), 8th February 2017 :-
'The Bottom Line: Understated portrait of a tumescent talent ...
.... Finnish director Dome Karukoski's prize-winning biopic celebrates the cult artist who brought hardcore gay sex imagery into the mainstream. Touko Laaksonen was once an illegal underground porn artist, notorious in gay circles for his fetishistic fantasias of uniformed muscle men with square jaws, supernaturally swollen biceps and colossal phallic weaponry.
But Laaksonen, who found belated fame under the alias Tom of Finland, is now globally respected as a pioneer of homoerotic iconography and a highly skilled artist in his own right. His instantly recognizable work is well-hung in prestigious galleries, including MOMA in New York, and has even been celebrated on Finnish postal stamps. ....
Production company: Helsinki-Filmi Oy
Starring: Pekka Strang, Lauri Tilkanen, Jessica Grabowsky, Taisto Oksanen, Seumas Sargent, Jakob Oftebro, Niklas Hogner
Director: Dome Karukoski
---- see more of Stephen Dalton's insightful review of Tom Of Finland at www.hollywoodreporter.com at :-
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
---- the opening paragraphs of an extended celebratory historical essay by Philip Christopher Baldwin at HuffPost Lifestyle (UK), 7th February 2017 :-
'Michelangelo first met Tommaso de’ Cavalieri in 1532. Michelangelo had other lovers, although his relationship with Tommaso was the longest and most passionate. For many centuries, historians writing about Michelangelo tried to ignore that he was gay.
For example, in his poems, references to men were changed to women. February is LGBT History Month, which is important as it allows LGBT people to reclaim the past, identifying and evaluating the place of LGBT people in history. Michelangelo’s sexuality is central to any discussion of his work.
---- see more of Philip C Baldwin's stimulating historical essay, with thanks, at www.huffingtonpost.co.uk at :-
Monday, February 6, 2017
---- the opening phrases of a substantial cultural commentary by Daniel Wenger at New Yorker Magazine (USA), 6th February 2017 (with thanks) :-
After more than decade focussed on same-sex marriage, a right held most dearly by affluent whites, the gay-rights movement is finding strength in diversity.
'We have faced institutional oppression for as long as society has existed,” Corey Johnson, a young, gay New York City Council member, said on Saturday afternoon. “Progress is not guaranteed.” He was speaking to the several thousand demonstrators who had gathered outside Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the gay-rights movement.
The last time such a large crowd converged on that spot, in June, it was to mourn: forty-nine men and women, many of them college-aged Latinos, had just been murdered at Pulse, a gay night club in downtown Orlando; the whole nation seemed to join in solidarity with its vulnerable citizens, even if Donald Trump, seizing on the shooter’s apparent allegiance to ISIS, tweeted that the murders proved him “right on radical Islamic terrorism.”
Now, with Trump’s brand of hateful opportunism given the full force of law, the community came together again, to steel itself against threats to come and to protest the progress that has already been rolled back. ....'
---- see more of Daniel Wenger's commentary at www.blogger.com at :-
Saturday, February 4, 2017
---- an excerpt from a post at the Council For Global Equality website (Washington DC), February 2017 :-
'The Council for Global Equality joins civil society colleagues from around the world in calling on US Ambassador Nikki Haley to affirm America’s commitment to fundamental freedoms and inclusion for LGBTI people in discussions at the United Nations.
At her confirmation hearing, Ambassador Haley pledged that she would “unabashedly promote American values.” Those values include the protection of human rights and freedom for all people, including LGBTI minorities. .... '
---- in the light of US President Donald Trump's controversial policy suggestions, see more of The Council of Global Equality's call to US Ambassador Haley at the Council's website at :-
---- see too a short video on this issue on the Global Equality site
Thursday, February 2, 2017
---- opening phrases from a substantial news report published at Big News Network (UK), 1st February 2017 :-
'London [UK], Feb. 1 (ANI): Thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted of offences that once criminalised homosexuality have been posthumously pardoned under a new law.
The general pardon is modelled on the 2013 royal pardon granted by the Queen to Alan Turing, the mathematician who broke the German Enigma codes during the Second World War. He killed himself in 1954, at the age of 41, after his conviction for gross indecency.
Dubbed the "Alan Turing law", it will act as an apology to those convicted for consensual same-sex relationships before homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967. .... '
---- see more of the ANI/Guardian report at Big News Network (UK) at :-
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
---- selected pars from a press report by Sarit Ray at Hindustan Times (India), 29 January 2017 :-
'Traffic came to a stop on a Saturday afternoon as a sea of colour and mirth marched through Grant Road. The QAM (Queer Azadi Mumbai) Pride March 2017 was as colourful as ever, and appeared to be bigger than ever before.
There were men in heels, women in dhotis, dogs in rainbow outfits (lesbian dogs, we were told). Massive flags floated down, dhols played, and placards demanded equality for the LGBT community.
.... "This is my second Pride in Mumbai. I’ve come from Delhi to attend it. And it’s incredible to see how we’ve grown in numbers. Which just goes to show that we’re not a minuscule minority. And we are here to celebrate ourselves, be proud of ourselves, and we’re not ashamed of who we are. We are protesting for getting rid of Section 377. We want an amendment in it as soon as possible. It’s been hanging for so long. .... " - Anwesh Kumar Sahoo, 21, Mr Gay World India, 2016, and engineering student, IIIT, Delhi .. “I can’t tell my mom I’m here”
---- see more of Sarit Ray's report with pics at the Hindustan Times (with thanks) at :-
Saturday, January 28, 2017
---- the opening phrases from an analytical opinion-piece by Lisa Keen at The Bay Area Reporter (Online), San Francisco USA, 19 January 2017 :-
'The most pro-gay Republican presidential candidate in history will take office as president of the United States Friday, January 20, and yet the LGBT community has much to be anxious about.
While Donald Trump used his campaign pulpit to urge the American people to stand in "solidarity" with the LGBT community following the nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida last June, his picks for key administration posts have been people with a history of standing solidly against that community.
No matter what Trump might do as president to signal his unique level of comfort with LGBT people compared to his Republican conservative base, the departure of President Barack Obama, indisputably the most pro-gay president in history, will stand in stark contrast to what many LGBT people fear will become an inevitable string of disappointing inactions (at best) and hostile attacks (at worst). .... '
---- see more of Lisa Keen's challenging analysis at www.ebar.com/news at :-
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
---- the opening phrases from a publisher's sheet promoting a new book, reviewed by Laura Nuongo at Rutgers (Newark, USA), 17th January 2017 :-
'Tim Stewart-Winter, associate professor of U.S. history and co-director of the Queer Newark Oral History Project, is the co-winner of the 2017 John Boswell Prize for his book, Queer Clout: Chicago and the Rise of Gay Politics. The John Boswell Prize is awarded every other year by the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender History for “an outstanding book on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gendered, transsexual, and/or queer history published in English" in the past two years. ....
.... Queer Clout, which is Stewart-Winter’s first book, traces the role of big-city municipal politics in the gay movement’s path from the closets to the corridors of power. Queer Clout shifts the scene from the coastal gay meccas to the nation's great inland metropolis, highlighting the key role of policing in LGBT mobilization and the gay movement's debt to African-American urban politics. “I wrote this book to challenge the myth that LGBT people won power through dramatic, iconic events, like the Stonewall rebellion or the recent Supreme Court victories. What I found, instead, was that for most of its history the LGBT movement was an urban movement engaged primarily in local organizing at city hall. While the federal government legitimized the civil rights revolution in the 1960s, it was big-city municipal government that expanded its scope in the following three decades to encompass gay and lesbian people,” said Stewart-Winter.
---- see more of Laura Nuongo's complete press release at the Rutgers site at :-
Sunday, January 22, 2017
---- the opening phrases of a sociological report posted by the Press Trust of India (Jaipur, India), 22 January 2017 :-
'Booker-winning British novelist and poet Alan Hollinghurst today said he found it "depressing" that despite being the world's biggest democracy, homosexuality was still outlawed in India.
The 62-year-old writer, who wrote his thesis on the works of Ronald Firbank, E M Forster and L P Hartley -- three gay writers -- won the coveted 50,000-pound prize in 2004 for his book "The Line of Beauty". [Later made into a BBC-TV drama series.- Ed.]
"It is totally depressing. And if anti-gay laws remain on the statute book, even if they are rarely invoked, I do feel they give rise to an increase in anti-gay feelings.
"Things are not good all over the world. Situation in most of Africa is extremely bad...Something very much encouraged by the Christian Church. A lot of American right wing people are behind this intolerance in Africa. They must be frustrated by the success of gay rights in America," he told PTI in an interview.
Hollinghurst, whose first four books form a quartet that explore the gay life in the United Kingdom, said the "genre of gay writing" is over now. .... '
Saturday, January 21, 2017
---- the opening pars from an extended political report by Molly Ball at The Atlantic (USA), 20 January 2017 (with thanks) :-
'He’s moved to establish his dominance of his party, of Congress, and of the media. Now, he turns to the nation.
They streamed into Washington this week to collect their reward, the activists and party hacks and true believers who helped make it happen. The members of the Republican National Committee, representing every state and territory, gathered in the ornate, slightly dowdy ballrooms of Washington’s Omni Shoreham hotel, where they took care of the party’s business between being feted at lunches, receptions, and inaugural balls. The mood was jubilant: Against all odds, after years of frustration, everything they worked for had come to pass.
The Republicans—a few hundred RNC members and nonmember guests—took their seats in rows of chairs to hear the good news: control of Congress, 33 of 50 governorships, control of the legislatures of 32 states. On the stage, their chairman for the last six years, Reince Priebus, told them their efforts had been key to the party’s success. .... '
---- see more of Molly Ball's interesting report at The Atlantic at :-
Friday, January 20, 2017
---- the opening pars from a substantial publishing report by Jeremy Willard at DailyXtra (Canada), 17th January 2017 :-
'Imagine the courage it must have taken to pick up a copy of Summer in Sodom from the local dime store in the 1960s.
Beginning in the late 1940s, books with gay subject matter (and often suggestive titles and cover art) sauntered for the first time onto the shelves of many drugstores, soda shops, dime stores and other such places across the US. The subject matter of gay pulp books was still taboo, but the books were available to those brave enough to take them from the rack.
Among their more enticing titles are things like Summer in Sodom, Lost on the Twilight Road, Gaydreams, Skid Row Sweetie, Bad Boys, The Gay Rebels, The Price of Pansies, Queen of the Road, Rough Trade, Cycle Sadist and Leather Sucker. ....
.... Ian Young describes the rise of the gay pulps in the opening of his 2007 book, Out in Paperback: A Visual History of Gay Pulps. .... '
---- see more of Jeremy Willard's revealing history of 'pulp publishing' at www.dailyxtra.com at :-
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Troye Sivan : HEAVEN ft. Betty Who
'Blue Neighbourhood' merch & more here: http://troye.si/vanStore
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
---- opening phrases from an extended film review by John Ehrett at The Federalist (USA), 18th January 2017 :-
'This film about a young black gay man largely transcends politics, offering instead a poignant story about meaning and belonging.
Critical accolades notwithstanding, “Moonlight” is almost certainly a film few conservatives have seen, or are likely to see. The one-sentence synopsis of the film—a young black gay man’s coming-of-age story—would almost certainly lead one to expect a polemic against social injustice, a cinematic broadside against the impending horrors of the Age of Trump.
“Moonlight,” however, is not such a movie. Instead, it tells a deeply felt story that largely transcends politics, raising memorable questions about life and relationships that cut across all demographics. ....
.... But perhaps the most enduring strength of “Moonlight” is its thematic timelessness. This is not a race-relations story in the vein of Paul Haggis’ “Crash” (in fact, there are no white characters at all), a gay love story à la Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” or an explicitly political critique like Ava DuVernay’s “13th.” And in many ways, this refusal to focus on anything other than its central character is what makes “Moonlight” a potent viewing experience. .... '
---- see more of John Ehrett's sensitive review of "Moonlight" at The Federalist's online magazine, plus visit the film's 2min10sec trailer in Cool Gay Stuff's right-hand pics-&-videos column accessed via PC's, laptops, and other full service devices :-
---- the opening phrases from an art-book report by Hilton Dresden at OUT Magazine (USA), 19th December 2016 :-
'No previous American art show has explored gender and sexual expression during Japan's Edo period in such detail.
In March, "A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints" will debut at the Japan Society in New York City. The exhibition will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and will investigate the "wakashu" ("beautiful youths") who were considered a third, unique gender during the Edo period (approximately 1603 to 1868).
Yukie Kamiya, gallery director of the Japan Society, said in a statement: “We could not be more excited to bring this imminently relevant exhibition to New York City. With our long history of presenting traditional and contemporary Japanese art, we look forward to exploring Japan’s Early Modern era, which is often characterized as a moment of isolation, from an unexpected vantage point—namely, how the richness of lived experience in the Edo period can serve as a touchstone for issues that resonate within contemporary society.” .... '
---- see more of Hilton Dresden's report at www.out.com/art-books at :-
[See at artwork at right: Suzuki Harunobu's Two Couples in a Teahouse, 1769-70. Courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum, Sir Edmund Walker Collection. 926.18.280.]
Monday, January 16, 2017
---- selected lines from the opening pars of a news item reported by Marilyn Stowe of Stowe, Family Law LLP (UK), 15 January 2017 :-
'Germany has the highest level of support for gay marriage among countries where it is not yet legal.
In a newly published survey, almost 83 per cent of Germans said same sex couples should have the same marriage rights as heterosexuals. More than three quarters – 75.8 per cent – believed there should be equal adoption rights and 67 per cent said those couples should receive the same level of support as their straight peers when it comes to seeking IVF treatment.
Despite these positive numbers, some people also expressed some anti-gay sentiments. Almost ten per cent of participants believed homosexuality was immoral and a little more than 18 per cent said it was unnatural. .... '
---- see more of Marilyn Stowe's statistical report at www.marilynstowe.co.uk at :-
Saturday, January 14, 2017
---- introductory pars from news report by Graham Gremore at QUEERTY online magazine (USA), 14 January 2017 :-
'.... A new Gallup survey has found that more than 10 million Americans, 4.1% to be exact, now identify as LGBTQ. That’s an increase of more than 1.75 million since the last survey conducted in 2012, which found 3.5% of Americans identified as LGBTQ. ....
.... The survey is based on a total of 1,626,773 telephone interviews with randomly selected Americans ages 18 and older living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey was conduced from June 1, 2012 through December 30, 2016.
Millennials showed the sharped increase in overall LGBTQ self-identification, going from 5.8% in 2012 to 7.3% in 2016. Generation Xers remained more of less than same, hovering around 3.2%. Baby boomers went from 1.8% to 1.4%, and traditionalists (folks born between 1913-1945) went from 1.8% to 1.4%. .... '
---- see more of Graham Gremore's striking report at www.queerty.com at (with thanks) :-
Thursday, January 5, 2017
---- the introductory pars to a substantial review by Jim Piechota of a new book by Ritch C. Savin-Williams titled: "Becoming Who I Am" at The Bay Area Reporter (Online), 5 January 2017 :-
'In Becoming Who I Am, a rewarding study of youth, sexuality, and identity, Ritch C. Savin-Williams, a human development professor at Cornell University, offers clear and insightful glimpses into the lives of young gay men. His new book "shares my accumulated knowledge and perspective with those of you who believe you might be gay, know you're gay, or want to find out what gay teens experience."
His text, based on over 40 years of career research, is primarily comprised of expansive interviews with gay youth who were more than willing to tell their stories about "growing up gay in today's world." .... '
---- see more of Jim Piechota's review of Ritch C. Savin-Williams' timely book at :-
[Becoming Who I Am: Young Men on Being Gay by Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Harvard University Press, $27.95]
NOW, in this column : SELECTED TRAILERS OF RECENT GAY-THEMED OR GAY-INTEREST MOVIES ....
HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY review of "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" ...
A fair-haired young man, dressed in rich ceremonial armor, is found dead in the Nile River. When he is identified, everyone realizes the dangerous political implications of this death, because Antinous was the eromenos—the lover and protégé—of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
A grief-stricken Hadrian appoints two members of the court, Suetonius and his patron Clarus, to find out how and why Antinous died. They have two days to find the answer, permission to interrogate anyone except the Emperor and Empress, and the promise that they may forfeit their lives if they fail to satisfy Hadrian.
Failure is a distinct possibility. While Antinous was well-liked and respected, the circle of suspects is wide, as it often will be when the victim is the confidant of an absolute ruler. The two sleuths quickly draft unlikely but able assistants to help them, including a scribe and an observant, multilingual prostitute.
The book offers an extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire of 130 AD. Gardiner is equally convincing when writing about imperial politics and succession laws, marriage and sexual customs, philosophy and the theater.
But The Hadrian Enigma—a mix of mystery, comedy, gay and straight romance—is an entertaining read.
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA | A review by historical fiction author J.R. Tomlin ...
" .... In 130 AD, while accompanying the Emperor Hadrian on a tour up the Nile, the beautiful youth Antinous plunges into the Nile and drowns. Hadrian, near maddened with grief, declares Antinous a god. However, Suetonius just happens to be along on this imperial tour. Already the author of juicy books on contemporary Roman life, he is perfectly placed to investigate this mysterious death, so Emperor Hadrian commands him to investigate and find the murderer within 48 hours or suffer the consequences.
In the imperial compound on the Nile, Suetonius searches for clues. Here, semi-isolated, the bubbling cauldron of the Roman court has been transplanted to a fabulous tent city. Yet, the mystery of Egypt is an ever present backdrop to this baffling death. .... Why was Antinous clad in heavy ceremonial parade armor and weapons when he died? How did he come by a slit on his left wrist and strange marks on his throat? And how can Suetonius unravel all this when the Emperor refuses to let Suetonius even touch the body to examine it? The characterization is vivid and the historicity meticulous in this novel. I enjoyed savoring the characters and setting as Suetonius unraveled the imperial goings on. .... "
See more of J.R. Tomlin's review at her author's blogsite "Writing & More" at : http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/
AN UNEDITED REVIEW OF 'THE HADRIAN ENIGMA"....
By a reader down under (New South Wales, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is for: THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History (Paperback)
George Gardiner's absorbing new book, which focuses on the relationship between the Roman emperor Hadrian and his young paramour, Antinous of Bithynia, quite possibly heralds the thrilling emergence of a new Mary Renault. (As uneven as it is in some places, to my mind it is a big improvement on Margeurite Yourcenar's book on Hadrian from the 1950s).
Gardiner begins his narrative with the discovery of the dead body of the beautiful youth, who has apparently drowned in the Nile. He coopts as his central figure cum narrator the actual historical figure of Suetonius Tranquillus, who is charged by the supreme colonial ruler Hadrian Caesar with the urgent responsibility of uncovering the reasons for, as well as the manner of, the death. Suetonius works night and day as a kind of investigator/ prosecutor and his dogged inquiry drives the plot. The narrative unfolds as a kind of antique murder mystery, then, and one of the book's great strengths is in the well-paced twists and turns of the plot, throwing up a number of suspects and scenarios along the way that keep the reader intrigued until the very end. Gardiner's humour shines through this character, who is forced to carry out his investigation under the double pressure of a pressing deadline (why is Hadrian so intent of winding it all up in such a short time, we wonder) and the threat of execution if he doesn't come up with the answers.
This is compelling writing. Suetonius is a good choice, as he is known for his history of a dozen Caesars, and the author brings him vividly and humorously to life. Indeed, Gardiner skilfully and imaginitively re-works established historical figures and creates a cast of composite characters where necessary to serve his narrative ends. The fact that he can do this convincingly, with such an extraordinary mixture of ethnicities and beliefs, is writing of a high order. The mastery of research is remarkable, not only for Gardiner's command of the details of ethnic artefacts, weaponry, costume, architecture and so on, but also for the complex politics of Roman colonial expansionism in its abrasive encounter with other cultures. The era was marked by a complex intermingling of belief systems, and Gardiner's fictional world is woven from a rich and amazingly detailed fabric. Very occasionally the research seems almost oversupplied but for the most part it serves to underpin his imaginative reconstructions with persuasive authenticity.
Also among the book's strengths are the finely imagined conversations between characters, both historical and concocted, that move the investigation so beautifully along. There are certain set action sequences pieces, too, that are brilliantly staged and paced--the boar hunt, for example, when Hadrian rescues Antinous, and the marvellous climactic scene where Suetonius brings his prosecutorial charges home (albeit uncertainly, with some lines of inquiry that don't pan out).
The only thing that broke the spell for me was Gardiner's occasional jarring choices in language idioms. There's no doubt that the language(s) of the time and place would have been salted with colourful vulgarities, and the dialogue should reflect that, but some of the terms chosen have such strong contemporary associations for us, here at the beginning of the 21st Century, that they they jar and jolt in the reading. `Toyboy' is one example, `getting your rocks off,' `muscular stud' and `gaga' are others that don't ring well to my ear. It's a pity, because sometimes they drop the reader right out of the spell he weaves so skilfully, otherwise.
In contrast, many of the scenes and dialogue move with stately Latinate constructions within a convincing and well-sustained narrative voice. Gardiner has set himself the difficult task of creating a hybrid language that can include both convincing formal language, and everyday vulgarisms, that ring true within his own reconstruction, yet sound right to our contemporary hearing. It's a delicate juggling act and sometimes he drops his balls. (If he had perhaps reserved their use strictly in dialogue, say, to help with characterisation? Perhaps some of his choices might be better realised in a second edition.)
Another of the book's great strengths is hinted at by the book's sub-title. It's a `forbidden history' not simply because Hadrian issues an edict that only the official `party line' should be recorded (and by implication, Suetonius' project of recording events for us to read goes dangerously gainst the edict of his Emperor). It's forbidden history too because Gardiner has constructed a counter-narrative to the centuries of heavily judgemental readings of this iconic same-sex relationship. Positive affirmations of same-sex bonding were exiled in silence as soon as the early Christian commentators started to impose their dominant narratives over all acceptable behaviours and ideals.
In Yourcenar's 50s version, Antinous's moody adolescent pouting makes Hadrian looks like a bit of a fool for dallying with the youth, but Gardiner proposes a heroic reading here that highlights the finer elements of the erastes/eromenos partnering, which was not only tolerated but celebrated in ancient times. For me, this moves the book onto a higher plane than a mere homoerotic titillation and places the relationship where it belongs, in the heroic company of Patroclus/Achilles and the legendary band of Theban warrior-lovers.
Gardiner successfully and daringly recuperates the much-despised and consistently misrepresented ideal of man-to-man love, here based on respect, admiration and the inspiration of noble ideals, as much as the undeniable and enjoyable erotic attraction, which we see only fitful glimpses of among sporting figures and others today. During the continuing culture wars of our own times it's a relief to read this inspiring alternative with its healing potential as an affirmative voice emerging from the diminishing, culturally imposed silence.
In a strange way `The Hadrian Enigma' is reminiscent of E.M. Forster's gay-affirmative novel `Maurice', which Forster was unable to publish during his lifetime. Forster's wistful happy ending for a same sex coupling was unthinkable in the mid-twentieth Century, and even today, it's hard to read such partnering as anything other than morally sinful - such is our pervasive indoctrination by churchmen - or psychologically misdirected (`homosexuality' is still construed as a kind of `failed development' in conventional psychological readings). Certainly such a relationship will still be regarded as second best to the pressing imperative of reproduction. Gardiner has struck a blow with this courageous and convincing re-telling.
So, for me this is a 5 star book for the outstanding and detailed research and the creative work that underpins the imaginative reconstructions; at least 4 stars for its plotting, but only 3 stars for the strange inconsistencies in his prose style. This averages out to a solidly earned 4 stars.
I do hope Gardiner is deep at work on his next book of historical fiction. He certainly has all the skills required.
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Bye-bye for now from George Gardiner's THE HADRIAN ENIGMA rainbow-community site ...