Wozek, Gerard. “Postcards From Heartthrob Town” A Gay Man’s Travel Tales.” Harrington Park Press, 2006
The Search for Perfect Sex
Gerard Wozek’s book is comprised of queer tales of a man’s journey “through physical and emotional landscapes” and it is great. His journey as he writes in “Postcards from the Heartthrob Town” is a quest for homoerotic desire and it is a journey that is both wild and passionate. The details he presents are amazing, the combination of memoir and short fiction is a great read and this is a book that speaks to the core of the gay being. As Wozek travels in search of the erotic core that makes gay men what they are, he tells nineteen short stories that show a sense of displacement, of the lack of comfort we feel, coupled with a hunger to keep moving. Wozek does not discuss or describe location or local color of the places he goes to but the emotion, the spirit and the feel of every place he is. He is not looking for love, he is looking for the erotic and he takes us along for the ride.
The places we go are not the normal tourist traps but the evocative, the erotic and the sensual. Unlike other travel books, we don’t see the museums and the monuments but instead we feel the pulse of the people. His thesis seems to be that in order to accept ourselves as queer, we must accept the world as a whole. Travel here is a means to the end of that acceptance; to be part of the world we must know the world and there are many ways to get to know it.
In this journey of discovery, Wozek transverses the world and in doing so relates to the reader the things going on wherever he may be. He does this through his stories and each story stands alone with its own unique setting, its own cast of characters and its own array of men—the seducers and the seducees. What he has in common with all travelers is the sense of longing to be a part of the culture and the greatest threat is the sense of heartache that knows no borders. Wozek’s wanderlust hurts him and forces him onward from one place to another—from the Southern U.S. where he meets a radical faerie, to the winding trails of Sitges, to cruising the parks in Berlin or eating in a restaurant in Cracow. And it is always the same quest for the erotic.
This is a journey to the very soul of the homosexual experience and during this journey we are presented with vivid remembrances illustrating the lure of travel and showing how our travels influence the course of our lives. As we watch Wozek in pursuit, to the capture and the after play of a potential love that he has lost we are amazed by the pictures of life that he gives us.
Wozek comes across as the product of alienation and like him we see our own alienation. The stories that emerge come from the restless memory that he possesses but he presents them with style and grace and he encompasses the span of gay consciousness. Some stories are rich with sexual detail and others stand on the beauty of Wozek’s prose. Others shout out the glory of our lives and the intricacy of gay spirituality. Each story gives us a chance for self reflection and introspection as we probe the need to belong to a larger community. His stories are both personal and universal; his quest is our quest as he attempts to chart the emotions and character of what may eventually become a gay community. This book is most definitely worth a read.