Comfort and Joy - Jim Grimsley
The sparse language of this novel sets the tone from the beginning. We are plunged into the lives of two men, Ford and Dan, who form an unlikely relationship - a relationship against all the odds.
The plot weaves cleverly from the present - a trip to Dan's home for Christmas - and the past, showing how they met and the problems they've overcome.
This book is totally truthful: nothing is seen through rosy-tinted spectacles, and it is utterly heart wrenching.
If you have ever
stood out against your family's values, or done something for the sake of love
alone, then this novel cannot help but touch you.
The path to
love is never easy, but rarely is the journey quite as rewarding as this beautifully
realised gay romance. Never sentimental, it will linger in your mind long after
you put it down.
Deceptively simple, the book is layered like an onion, with a well crafted narrative structure. It moves cleverly from present to past and back again, to build a convincing and compelling picture of a mature relationship between two men, Ford and Dan. It's not easy for them. They face many obstacles, and in places it will break your heart. It's a real page-turner, with the intense and extremely satisfying love story that is the book's focus. Details are added piece by piece, in a slow reveal that works very well with the characters. Written in a style that manages to be simple and very readable yet beautifully poetic and emotionally rich, it shines a light on families and the power they have over us, even when we're supposedly independent adults.
A book with genuine universal appeal that shows how we can make our own way and find love and happiness, regardless of who we are or where we come from, if only we hold true to what's important and accept what we are. You will love this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. ISBN: 1565123964
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After note: After researching novels for this section, we've discovered that Comfort & Joy is, in fact, the second story of two. The first, Winter Birds, is about Dan's childhood, and sets the scene for things that happen in Comfort & Joy. We're very annoyed as there is no mention on the edition we bought of this earlier novel. We intend to review it, but if you want to buy it first, before you buy Comfort, then the link to Amazon UK is:Or buy from Lambda Rising Booksellers in the States