Ralph Eckhart meets "Thersites" on the Internet. The manager of a Greenwich Village bookstore and politically to the left, Ralph agrees to an F2F (face-to-face) meeting with Thersites in Washington, D.C., where his friend Nancy writes speeches for a popular woman senator. With his penchant for Shakespearean drama, Ralph should have seen the elements gathering for tragedy..Ralph Eckhart meets "Thersites" on the Internet. The manager of a Greenwich Village bookstore and politically to the left, Ralph agrees to an F2F (face-to-face) meeting with Thersites in Washington, D.C., where his friend Nancy writes speeches for a popular woman senator. With his penchant for Shakespearean drama, Ralph should have seen the elements gathering for tragedy...or farce. Thersites proves to be a young, attractive, and enthusiastic lover. He is also Republican, in the closet, right-wing, and the author of a tell-all book that spreads gossip about several Washington women, including a footnote about a lesbian affair between a speechwriter and a "happily married" senator. In a town where rumors can kill a career, such words may be fatal. And despite his passion, Ralph is disturbed by his new lover's politics...and then stunned at being charged with his murder. Christopher Bram joins dark satire with chilling suspense as Ralph is arrested for first-degree homicide and becomes a "cause" in the gay community....
|Number of Pages||:||352 Pages|
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I'm a fan of Mr. Bram and there are some interesting elements to this quasi mystery, but; ultimately, the story seems to go off in so many directions that it simply falls apart.
I really enjoyed the writing and introspection in this book.
I bought this book because I had read ‘Hold Tight’ by the same author. I found that book completely engrossing and thought that maybe lightening may strike in the same place twice. It did – and it didn’t.This particular novel has no connection with the plot of ‘Hold Tight’. They could almost be written by two different people – both excellent writers but with no connection to one another. It was published in 1997 but it may as well have been yesterday. The issues seem perennial and the same people are still parading about the stage of politics so in many respects you can take the characters to be almost amalgams of the men and women we know who inhabit the strange worlds of politics and gay activism. They almost need one another to survive. They both need enemies to give themselves reasons to continue the struggle.The book is in two parts really. The story of the brief and troubled relationship between Ralph and Bill – two gay men who really shouldn’t be sharing the same roof let alone the same bed. Ralph is an openly gay man managing a book store in NY, a former activist he now seems estranged from the whole gay politics of it all and quite happy to live, love and work. His friends don’t think the same though. Bill is a right-wing political pundit hoping to make it big exposing the creeping liberalism he sees all about him. Especially the rise of women which he believes is weakening the political structures in Washington. Strange views coming from a minority himself. Of course Bill the commentator isn’t officially ‘out’ as he feels [and quite rightly knows] that it would put an end to whatever future he has as a right wing pundit. It’s almost a contradiction in terms – a Republican gay man.It is a mere vague footnote in his first political expose that starts things off. Ralph’s best friend who works for a female senator may have compromised herself and her boss by an obvious infatuation with her. This leads to innuendos about Washington as to what may really be going on. Ralph uses this as an excuse to quit the relationship with Bill who he really has taken a dislike to – or rather his politics. He still likes the man even though he is loathe to admit it to himself. And that is the beginning of part two of the novel.Part two finds Ralph the centre of a confluence of external agendas and events which have really nothing to do with him. His personal relationship – as brief as it was – suddenly takes on a rather seedy and murky appearance when the newspapers get hold of it. Ralph suddenly finds himself a victim of circumstances and is charged with first degree murder. He is then owned by various factions who have reasons of their own why he should be found guilty or innocent. He seems almost like a prop in other people’s vendettas. One reviewer found the latter half implausible but to those who know anything about how politics actually works (rather than the television version of it) and how the law works (again the real rather than television version of it) will know that the unfolding drama is perfectly plausible and has probably happened on many occasions.Personally I found the ending rather disappointing. I really couldn't make out what the writer intended. I’m sure much was said by editors and agents about it but obviously the author decided it was what he wanted. I think it could have ended on a different note. Others may disagree.Worth reading.
Ralph Eckhart is a thirty something assistant manager in a New York bookstore, he’s gay, out, left wing and aware. He leads a fairly contended, ordinary and unadventurous life until that is he encounters William O’Connor in an internet chat room. They meet up and enjoy each others company. Is it love Ralph feels for the younger, baby-faced and apparently successful Bill? Whatever it is they get on well together despite their divergent political views and the fact that Bill is still in the closet. But eventually Bill’s right-wing connections get in the way, especially when Ralph sees and advance copy of Bill’s soon to be published book, a reactionary and opinionated attack on prominent Washington women. But that’s the least of Ralph’s worries for shortly after the book’s release he finds himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Throughout the story Ralph struggles to reconcile his views and outlook with his actions and the actions of his friends, and what he experiences may possible change his life completely.Christopher Bram’s prose flows with consummate ease as we follow Ralph’s account of events. At first it seems a remarkably ordinary tale woven around the narrator’s friends, work, ambitions (or lack of), and his private life, but then quite suddenly we are swept up in a tense mystery as Ralph’s world all but caves in when he unwittingly finds himself the centre of unwanted attention. Gossip is a gripping story, which once it gets going is difficult to put down.
CHRISTOPHER BRAMAKA: A Gay Republican is an OxymoronRalph is an assistant manager of a bookstore. He met Bill on-line in a gay chat room. They decide to meet F2F (face to face) and start a relationship. They couldn’t be more opposite of each other. Bill is a right wing, closeted Republican and author of a book slamming Hillary Clinton and women in general. Ralph is a open and out gay man; his best friend is a speech writer for an out spoken Democratic senator. After Bill comes out on national TV defending his controversial book, he is killed. Police think that a hustler robbed and murdered him. When Ralph goes to police thinking that he had information that could help them find the killer, he is arrested for the murder.The story has two surprise endings. An OK read.
I read Bram's first three books as they came out - I was searching out a lot of books by out gay authors at the time - but then we drifted apart. I always meant to get around to Gossip, but 20 years went by until I finally did. I wasn't missing much.Gossip is a meandering murder mystery, cynical and suspenseless, with a ridiculous ending. It is kind of interesting to see an example of how much has changed in the last 20 years, politically and for gay men, but that doesn't make up for the novel's shortcomings.
Too long; too disjointed. A disappointing book after having read a couple others by the author.
Mr. Bram writes unique stories as a platform for his thoughtful perception of the human condition. I am always surprised and delighted with his books.
This is my third Christopher Bram book, and though he's completely readable, I still haven't been taken with his writing like so many other people. They always end up disappointing me.