Mann, William J. “Men Who Love Men”, Kensington Books, 2007.
Coming this April from Kensington Books is William Mann’s “Men Who Love Men”, a sequel, so to speak to Mann’s highly successful “The Men from the Boys” and “Where the Boys Are”. Jeff and Lloyd are still with us but now they are in their early forties and in Provincetown running a bed and breakfast. They are finally to be married and they are busy making preparations for the big day as well as helping raise Jeff’s nephew, aged ten. For those of you who read the earlier books you know that the two believe in free love and have been non-monogamous. Will marriage change that?
Jeff feels that everything in his life has finally fallen into place. He has written a bestselling book and he and his longtime lover have settled down and are in business. In fact both Jeff and Lloyd seem to have it all and as the day nears for the ceremony, friends from all over are coming to Provincetown for the celebration.
The guys’ best friend, Henry Weiner, former escort and now an erotic energy worker is searching for what his two friends have and is beginning to wonder if he will ever have it. Just when he is ready to give up, he meets someone—Luke West—very young, very handsome and very seductive. The problem seems to be that he lets his fantasies run his life. Even though her claims to have come to P-town to find himself as a writer and as a person, it seems as though he has a much wider agenda. As he works himself into the circle of friends, he sees that his mere presence arouses feelings in the entire group. Henry senses that Luke is not who he claims to be or even appears to be yet he cannot help succumb to him, not once but over and over again. He is determined to find out what Luke is hiding and reveal it but what he finds out just emphasizes his own loneliness and quest for happiness.
As the guys face their lives head on, they realize that the future holds little promise for them (including Jeff and Lloyd). As they close the past, they open the future for whatever it may hold.
Mann deals with some of the major issues of gay life today. He looks at love and commitment, marriage, friendship, longing and fantasy as well as loneliness. What the book shows us is that surprises happen when we least expect them to and the results can be more of a surprise than the surprises themselves.
I have always loved Mann’s work. He deals with our lives head on and matter of factly and there are no issues that he is afraid to touch. His writing is clear and to the point and he is a major voice in gay literature—which should not be overlooked. I recommend everything he has written but I must admit that this book. “Men Who Love Men” spoke to me more than his others. Have a look and you will find yourself sold on him.