Tom Spanbauer (Kenya 1969-71) is back with a new novel.
This is Tom’s first novel in seven years. At the heart of this book is a love triangle: two men, one woman, all of them writers. The first chapters are set in the mid-eighties in New York City. At Columbia, Ben forms a bond with his macho friend, Hank. Their bond is deep and ostensibly formed around their love of writing. But they soon find out their love is more than literary. As C.S Lewis says, friendship is homosexual. Hank is straight, though, on the Kinsey scale a zero, which means no men. Ben is a five, which means an occasional woman. But both are artists, and this affection between them is a force. How do you measure love?
The second part of the book, almost a decade later, takes place in Portland, Oregon. A now-ill Ben falls for Ruth, his writing student. Their affection, like Hank’s and Ben’s, begins with how the heart is laid bare on the written page. Affection grows into love, but it is not an equal love. Ruth provides the care and devotion Ben needs, but Ben’s just too broken, Ruth is one of his occasional women, and as Ben has found out with Hank, loving has its limits.
Ben and Ruth are in their uneasy second year when Hank visits Ben in Portland. On a whim, Ben introduces Hank to Ruth. And the real trouble starts.
The book is out now from a small press in Portland, Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts.
We’ll have a review shortly in this pages.