Author: Larry Benjamin
Published: 1st August, 2017
Length: 61,500 words (266 pages) approx.
ISBN: Paperback ISBN: 978 1 78645 138 5
eBook ISBN: 978 1 78645 139 2
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Literary, New Adult, Adult
"When you boys fall in love, fall in love with his smile - because his smile will never age or change - and his eyes because in his eyes, you will always see the truth." That advice launches two young men on the journey to adulthood.
Told in 139 "vignettes," each dedicated to a single event, this is the story of four young men who meet in college, and follows them for more than two decades as they navigate the landscape of modern gay life.
Often playful and imaginative, but firmly grounded in the reality of gay men living in a perplexing, often hostile world, In His Eyes takes us on a journey with these men as they mature and fall in love, and struggle to maintain relationships among petty disappointments and broken dreams, while navigating the rough terrain of acceptance both internal and external.
As they break apart and come together, wound and heal, we are left to ask ourselves: does love ever really die, or is it just reborn in another time and place?
What can I tell you about the new novel from Larry Benjamin? When I think of how readily I can waffle up a storm in any other circumstances, it's hard to believe I can't find words to do justice to In His Eyes (or, indeed, any of Larry's previous works). I could repeat the blurb, but that's pointless...
Larry will tell you that In His Eyes is very different from his previous novels, and I agree with him up to a point. Whilst he possesses a unique literary voice that shapes all of his stories, this one is told through vignettes and from four different points of view, where What Binds Us and Unbroken are both written in continuous prose and from one point of view only.
It also looks nothing like I expected it to when Larry first told me about it. I envisaged there would be a certain amount of separation between the four narrative strands, with the spotlight falling on one character and leaving the others in the downstage darkness until that character had taken their turn.
What we get instead is a braiding together, and in the same way as each strand of a braid at some point rises to the surface, briefly elevated by the other strands, it remains an inseparable part of the whole, lifting the other strands to the fore when it is their turn. I'm a bit in awe, to be honest, because when I reached the end, it dawned on me that I had travelled decades with these guys, yet not once did I feel there were times unaccounted for.
I realise this review doesn't at all capture the emotional journey of these characters, the ups and downs, the relationships they encounter, or the deep friendship that holds them together. I'm not even going to attempt to do that. You need to read In His Eyes and see for yourself.
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