breakdown of the middle ground.

Where’s Oprah’s bi division of the book club??


Ever since this book came out, I’ve been captivated by the cover. It’s cool, in a-this-is -really-weird-why-are-chairs-hooking-up sort of way. Not so engaging though that it’s actually persuaded me to purchase to the work of fiction, but enough to cause me to continually re-read the jacket cover when I come upon it at various bookstores. In an effort to pursue a more diverse range of literary works I’ve jumped on board to make the effort to examine the page contents past the title. A double bonus is that it will lead the way in exploring plot lines that involve aspects of bisexuality.  Thus begins the dissection of a previously published online (by Jon Baskin) review that will clue you in regarding what I have to look forward to…

The Tourists by Jeff Hobbs

Jeff Hobbs’s The Tourists is a post-college tragedy. [Okay so I like that the characters are clearly going to be relatively young. I have yet to hit 30 myself, so reading about people near my age does give me an instant connection] That is, it’s about the growing population of well-educated young men and women for whom life after graduation is a tragedy, like Hobbs’s 29 year-old narrator, a Yale educated “writer” struggling to pay his rent in New York’s East Village and haunted by an almost pathological nostalgia for his university days. [I’m still with ya, who hasn’t struggled to pay their rent post college in a metropolitan city especially as a writer?!!] Fittingly, the novel begins with an intimate memory from the narrator’s junior year, involving his then-future boyfriend Ethan Hoevel, and a Yale glamour couple, track star David Taylor and his beautiful girlfriend, Samona Ashley. David and Samona-“a new couple still in their beginning”-clasp hands and kiss on the lawn, while the narrator and Ethan (soon to begin a relationship of their own) look on, the narrator thinks, portentously, of how “the dim light from a hundred dorm room windows…can illuminate so clearly their ignorance of all the awful things to come.” [Interesting…at this point of the review, I’ve narrowed my shoulders and gone “hmmm” at this story description. I shall continue…]

The rest of the novel, like the opening, weaves back and forth between shimmering Yale and a jaded present-day Manhattan, where the other principles have arrived at a similar spot, even if they have achieved more external success. [No matter how many times I read that sentence all I get out of it is “present day Manhattan” (yea!) and Yale reference…I have no personal Yale reference so this does nothing for me, and I can safely say it probably won’t at a later day in time either…] Ethan has made a name for himself as a designer, while David has scored a steady gig with an investment bank and wedded Samona, who has begun a clothing company. Yet all three look with trepidation towards the future and seem to lack the maturity to make adult decisions. [ahhaha.] David and Samona’s marriage is depicted as a Revolutionary Road style stalemate, [Wait! Isn’t the Leo and Kate movie-that movie looks great! I wouldn’t say it was stale…at least not judging by the preview. But then again, just like this book I have yet to complete it for myself so my judgment may be clouded.] while Ethan plays childish head games with his love interests and friends. The most destructive of these games turns out to be the lust-triangle he instigates with Samona and David. [Hey there! This is where it’s starting to sound pretty good. I do enjoy a complicated love trio, especially of the bi persuasion.] To the narrator, whose own role in the unfolding drama is uncertain, these developments are both disturbing and evocative. [Yea, even in just this description narrative I’ve wondered the relation this narrator seems to have to the plot line. Its very Rear Window with someone looking in. Except I’m pretty sure no one is going to die in this book, and no one has been across the street watching this couples life unfold via their apartment window. So perhaps Rear Window wasn’t the best comparison exactly. Do you get what I was trying to say though? Moving on…] Ethan’s tryst with Samona especially brings back memories of his own painful crush (he kissed her once, at a party, in college), and triggers a number of nostalgic flashbacks to a time when things were simpler and less sordid.

The Tourist’s narrator, a journalist, straddles a fine line between intriguingly enigmatic and frustratingly vague. Often inarticulate or evasive about his own motivations and desires, some readers will find themselves disinclined to delve into the mystery of why anything that happens matters to him. [Well that’s interesting to know beforehand going in…Based on the above I wouldn’t exactly say I’m sold or anything, but I keep up my end of the bargain and follow though with the read ahead. I can’t help but remain intrigued, and curious to what my final take on this publication will ultimately be. Catch you on the flip side!]

—posted by Maddie Banks


Filed under: bi-sexual, Maddie Banks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

follow biFACTOR topics on twitter

%d bloggers like this: