Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nights Beneath the Nation-Denis Kehoe

Nights Beneath the Nation
Denis Kehoe
Serpent's Tail, Aug 1 2010, $14.95
ISBN: 9781846686795

Decades ago in the early 1950s Daniel Ryan was a teen from a poor family when he moved to Dublin. However, he was taken aback when he realized he preferred sleeping with men. He hd grown grown up in a small town that proclaimed homosexuality is an asylum disease for the mentally insane perverts or a devil’s sin. He fell in love, but his relationship ended poorly and he fled Ireland for New York.

In 1998, wealthy septuagenarian Daniel returns to Dublin for the first time since he fled in shame in 1951. Nothing seems the same to him and he feels no one his age has anything in common with the cosmoplitan man he has become after five decades in Manhattan. In his birth land, Daniel feels like a stranger in a strange land.

This is a complex, perhaps too compicated comparative look at a man in two stages of his life; as the story line rotates between young Daniel learning with energy and elan his sexual proclivity vs. the eldery acrimonious Daniel having lived a life alone in exile. Nights Beneath the Nation is a fascinating protrait of a young and old gay male struggling to accept his sexual preference.

Harriet Klausner

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