Months after all that glittery praise for the debut prep school novel The Starboard Sea [Kindle], which the Washington Post critic compared to Gatsby but I rejected for its Ralph Laureny jacket, I've finally been oh-so-elegantly clobbered into understanding the book is built around a gay romance. One of my dearest chums and favorite readers reports:
"As you probably already know, The Starboard Sea makes the unfortunate but highly traditional mistake of punishing gay sex and love with violent death. It compounds this error with an unconvincing second act demi-romance (possibly presented as a redemption of sorts) with a wan and thinly drawn young woman. Yet between this treacherous Scylla and Charybdis plot channel lies some breathtaking writing about the protagonist's love for Cal, his former roommate, and for sailing and for sailing with Cal. Delicate, subtle, poignant, evocative, deeply moving, gorgeous, lovely. You want the book to be just Jason and Cal, hermetically sealed in their dorm room and out on the infinity of open sea. But you're grateful for what is there, because it's so alive and touching."