Between Dances by Erasmo Guerra

Between DancesBetween Dances by Erasmo Guerra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the story of Marco and his friends/lovers Chris and Jaime, all three erotic dancers and call-boys in NYC at some recent time, I’d suggest the late ’90s. Though some of the plot concerns their ‘jobs’, the novel is really about Marco and his life “between dances” shown by his interaction with Chris, Jaime and a few johns.

There are sexual encounters in the novel, but not explicit, and actually episodes telling us more about Marco. I like this approach. One gets bored with descriptive sex scene after sex scene common to so much m/m fiction. If it were a movie, I’d rate it PG depending on how much d&a are shown.

The author seems an experienced craftsman. The prose has a literary bent, reminding me somewhat of Counterpoint: Dylan’s Story. My main problem was some dialogue in Spanish which I did not want to look up for disturbing the flow of the prose. Sometimes the meaning was clear, most often not.

The novel is compared to Genet’s The Thief’s Journal and Rechy’s The City of Night. I think this comparison comes from the novel being about a seedier sides of Gay life, but I see a big difference. Genet’s autobiographical work and Rechy’s novels tend toward protagonists who are stuck in their lives and one expects then to go on behaving in the future as they have in the past. Marco makes me want to try to save him from his physically and psychologically destructive life. And, I think there is a good chance he could be changed and so saved. He’s likable though I don’t think I’d have sex with him.

I liked the book a lot and would like to see more novels come from the author’s pen. He has published short story collections, but no other novels that I can find.

The only real negative I found were a number of typos in the text, most minor. In one place it seemed a paragraph was out of place and I lost the flow of what was going on for a bit.

Recommended!

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