Book - Now And Then
Now And Then
The novel of remembrance--most often of love lost--is one of the most common of pre-Stonewall gay male literary themes. While it was enthusiastically replaced by the ever-popular theme of "come out and have sex," it has not completely passed into oblivion. William Corlett's enchanting and elucidating Now and Then has a decidedly pre-Stonewall feel to it, a tone of melancholia and nostalgia both surprising and comforting. Christopher Metcalf is a book editor at midlife who, upon returning home for his father's funeral, is faced with the painful memory of a love he lost at the age of 15 when he was betrayed by an older schoolmate whom he adored. Christopher's memories and his slow recognition of how he has squandered his emotional life over the years are moving, even startling. Corlett's language has a touch of classical elegance to it, yet resonates with contemporary idiom and briskness. The most astonishing aspect of Now and Then, however, is its refusal to become sentimental or present tough emotions in an easy or baleful manner. In this, it transforms a pre-Stonewall theme into a decidedly post-Stonewall novel.