ALA Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual Book Award. DREAM BOY confirms the immense promise of Jim Grimsley's award-winning debut, WINTER BIRDS. In his electrifying novel, adolescent gay love, violence, and the spirituality of old-time religion are combined through the alchemy of Grimsley's vision into a powerfully suspenseful story of escape and redemption. "I've never read a novel remotely like DREAM BOY; and my admiration for Jim Grimsley's power is widened and deepened."--Reynolds Price; "Translucent prose and emotional authenticity."--Out. A QUALITY PAPERBACK BOOK CLUB SELECTION.
Ford McKinney is a devastatingly handsome, successful doctor, raised in an old Savannah family among good breeding and money. His longtime boyfriend, Dan Krell, is a shy hospital administrator with a painful childhood past. When the holidays arrive, they decide it's time to go home together. But the depth of their commitment is tested when Ford's parents cannot reconcile themselves to their son's choices, and Dan's secrets are exposed.
Comfort and Joy is a poetic and finely-wrought novel that explores the difficult journey two men make toward love.
Question: What could be more terrifying than bringing your significant other home for Christmas? Answer: Bringing home your significant other of the same sex. From the start, it's clear that Jim Grimsley's vision of the holidays holds as much darkness as it does light. Ford McKinney first lays eyes on Dan Crell when he's singing carols at the hospital where they both work, the mournful minor-key tones of "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" seeming to broadcast "the sadness of Christmas" in contrast to the lights and decorations around them. Their attraction is immediate, but the couple must face down several obstacles. For one thing, Dan is a hemophiliac who's HIV-positive. And Ford, a rich doctor from a prominent Savannah family, doesn't even think of himself as gay. That the two manage to meet, date, and fall in love is something of a miracle in itself--perhaps the only one that can sustain them through the season of miracles.
Comfort and Joy alternates scenes of Ford and Dan's courtship with their trip to North Carolina to meet Dan's family. Like any couple anywhere, they argue about money and their families; unlike some couples, they also argue about Dan's health and Ford's reluctance to kiss. In chronicling their history, however, Grimsley gets at something fundamental: the strange mixture of love and hate and anxiety at the bottom of every relationship, gay or straight. "You're really not as bright as I am and that's a problem," they both think, being "honest" with themselves, then wonder: "Why do men stay together?" The easy answer, of course, is that they love each other. The more complicated one is that, in living together, they've begun to dream the same dreams, breathe in rhythm, lay down "crevices" inside themselves in the shapes of each other. This, Dan thinks, is enough: "enough, without words, to keep them silent about the fact of their hates and their fears, their deep concerns about each other, and the certainty that one of them would die first and neither of them knew which one it would be."
The novel's prose is workmanlike at its best, but Grimsley's understanding of the human heart is deep and rich. His book refuses easy answers and stereotypes; for example, the mysterious trauma in Dan's childhood stays in the background, where it belongs. A lesser writer would have chosen to make its revelation the book's climax--the epiphany that explains Dan's character--but Grimsley knows that childhood pain is only one of many things that make us who we are. Such is the difference between fiction that seeks to tell us who we are and fiction that knows what a mystery we are at our core. Comfort and Joy is not just a book for gay readers: it's a book for everyone who's ever been in love, who's ever had a family, who's ever wanted to find some kind of refuge from the world. --Chloe Byrne
From Publishers Weekly
Continuing to follow the life of Danny Crell, introduced in his debut, Winter Birds, Grimsley has written his fullest and most humane novel yet, a work whose commendable restraint does not impede its emotional impact. Opening with Danny's plans to visit his family over Christmas holidays with his lover, charismatic pediatrician Ford McKinney, the narrative flashes back to the first meeting between the two men, three Christmases earlier, and evokes the difficulties of their relationship as well as the bonds between them. Both men are survivors who hide their true emotions behind an air of detachment. The novel chronicles their efforts to break through their protective facades, as each slowly realizes that the only way their relationship will endure is through a courageous decision to risk rejection. One source of tension is their vastly different backgrounds. Home for Danny is a trailer in the pungently evoked backwoods of eastern North Carolina. Dan and his mother retain their wounding memories of Dan's father, an abusive alcoholic, and of Dan's dead brother, Grove. Native ground for Ford is patrician Savannah, where his handsome, chilly parents are hardly pleased to find their accomplished son indifferent to the woman they have picked out for him to marry. Further flashbacks show Ford's slow coming-out process and the pair's cautious courtship. But deeper issues intrude. Danny is a hemophiliac and HIV+, and Ford, as a physician, is well aware of the implications of Danny's disease. Scenes where Danny injects a blood-clotting mixture to prevent internal bleeding are bone-chilling and heartbreaking, as Danny rejects Ford's help because he doesn't want his lover to see the messy circumstances of his life. In the strong and moving denouement, Ford finally gains the courage to bring Danny to meet his familyAto disastrous effect, although the novel ends hopefully. Grimsley's survivor's tales are always compelling; this book promises to be his breakthrough to a wider audience. Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
More than sixty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that America's schools could no longer be segregated by race. Critically acclaimed novelist Jim Grimsley was eleven years old in 1966 when federally mandated integration of schools went into effect in the state and the school in his small eastern North Carolina town was first integrated. Until then, blacks and whites didn't sit next to one another in a public space or eat in the same restaurants, and they certainly didn't go to school together.
Going to one of the private schools that almost immediately sprang up was not an option for Jim: his family was too poor to pay tuition, and while they shared the community's dismay over the mixing of the races, they had no choice but to be on the front lines of his school's desegregation.
What he did not realize until he began to meet these new students was just how deeply ingrained his own prejudices were and how those prejudices had...
Winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction. On a snowy Thanksgiving day in North Carolina, a dreamy eight-year-old is pushed headlong into the adult world by a violent quarrel between his parents. Jim Grimsley's brilliant first novel unfolds in a strikingly unconventional way—as the boy tells himself his own story. A shattering story of heartbreak, violence, and the endurance of the spirit. "Tell everyone."—Dorothy Allison, author of BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA.
In Aeryn, where science has never developed but magic is powerful, the Blue Queen, a usurper aided by a very powerful wizard, has ravaged the land. A boy is called out of his own life on a farm to enter a legendary forest and learn magic in order to help Kirith Kirin reclaim his rightful throne to maintain the balance of order. Jessex grows strong in his magical studies and fighting skills discovering his crucial role in the battle against the evil that overshadows his land. First of a trilogy the others of which are science fiction novels.
A woman looks back to her painful childhood in the rural South to solve a family mystery: "Magnificent . . . just masterful" (Ann Patchett).
Ever since Ellen Tote can remember, she has dreamed of her mother slowly drowning. Now, with her own children all grown and her siblings long gone, Ellen is still haunted by her half-remembered past, and finally journeys back to her childhood for answers. Piecing together her memories of growing up among North Carolina tenant farmers in the 1940s, she articulates a story so shattering, it had long been silenced by fear and shame—in a heartrending and emotionally powerful tale from a PEN/Hemingway Award nominee and "one of the finest Southern novelists to appear in a long, long time" (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
"There's a lyric intensity and a quiet authority in Ellen's narrative voice, and thoughtful consideration has been given to the question of how one makes peace with the griefs of the...
Jim Grimsley's previous science fiction novel, The Ordinary, was named one of the Top Ten science fiction books of the year by Booklist and won the Lambda Literary Award. His novels and short stories have been favorably compared to those of Ursula K. Le Guin, Jack Vance, and Samuel R. Delany. Now Grimsley returns to the richly complex milieu of The Ordinary with a gripping tale of magic, science, and an epic clash between godlike forces.
Three hundred years have passed since the Conquest, and the Great Mage rules over all of humanity, even as cybernetic links connect the varied worlds of the empire. Vast Gates allow travel from one planet to another, across unimaginable distances. Choirs of chanting priests maintain order, their songs subtly shaping reality, while the armies of the empire have known nothing but total victory for centuries.
But on the planet Aramen, where sentient trees keep human symbionts as slaves, a power has arisen...