Among the 20th century's great Western gay fictions -- Brokeback, Richard Amory's Song of the Loon, Thomas Savage's The Power of the Dog, William Henderson's Native -- the most daring in both its prose style and its raw sex is Tom Spanbauer's The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon. Vividly narrated by a half-white, half-native teenage orphan named Shed in the time of the Idaho gold rush, the book chomps on classic American themes of self-discovery and identity. The wild ride begins in a whorehouse where he's raised by Ida Richilieu (who "always said she couldn't sleep if there was a hard-on in the room") and soon young Shed falls in love with an early customer, a white rancher who may technically be his father.
Ultimately, no praise can be more convincing than this: For its first decade or so after publication, each year The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon sold more copies than previously. Trust word of mouth. The NYT Book Review said, "The miracle of this novel it that it obliges us to rethink our whole idea of narration and history and myth. Tom Spanbauer's wild West is the hurly-burly of the mind. He takes us into territories where few of us would ever dare to go." And PW, "Spanbauer fuses raunchy dialogue, pathos, local color, heartbreak and a serious investigation of racism in this stunning narrative."