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Monday, 15 October 2012


About The Book:

Tommy and Nathan Bishop are as different as two brothers can be. Carefree and careless, Tommy is the golden boy who takes men into his bed with a seductive smile and turns them out just as quickly. No one can resist him - and no one can control him, either. That salient point certainly isn't lost on his brother. Nathan is all about control. At thirty-one, he is as dark and complicated as Tommy is light and easy, and he is bitter beyond his years. While Tommy left for the excitement of New York City, Nathan has stayed behind, teaching high school English in their provincial hometown, surrounded by the reminders of their ruined family history and the legacy of anger that runs through him like a scar. Now, Tommy has come home to the family cottage by the sea for the summer, bringing his unstable, sexual powder keg of an entourage - and the distant echoes of his family's tumultuous past - with him. Tommy and his lover Philip are teetering on the brink of disaster, while their married friends, Camille and Kyle, perfect their steps in a dance of denial, each partner pulling Nathan deeper into the fray. And when one of Nathan's troubled students, Simon, begins visiting the house, the slow fuse is lit on a highly combustible mix. During a heady two-week party filled with drunken revelations, bitter jealousies, caustic jabs, and tender reconciliations, Tommy and Nathan will confront the legacy of their twisted family history - the angry, abusive father and the tragic death of their mother - and finally, to the one secret that has shaped their entire lives. It is a summer that will challenge everything Nathan remembers and unravel Tommy's carefully constructed facade, drawing them both unwittingly into a drama with echoes of the past...one with unforeseen and very dangerous consequences. 


Bart Yates burns up the pages with a writing style that very rapidly becomes addictive. He is able to say more in a short paragraph that most writers can say in a chapter. There is a sense of presence in his style that seduces the reader into the feeling of being in the same space as his characters, making the story flow smoothly and far too quickly!

And what characters he as created in THE BROTHERS BISHOP! Nathan, the older, still lives an near hermetic existence in his hometown of Walcott, Connecticut, in the same house where he spent his childhood with his younger brother Tommy, their mother who died in a freak accident of choking when the boys were small, their father who after the death of the mother became a cruel and abusive parent. The father is now dead and Nathan maintains the house intact, teaching school in the local high school, trying to find happiness as a gay man without a partner.

Into this milieu enters Tommy (now living in New York) together with his current squeeze Philip (Tommy has a history of torrid but brief gay relationships), and a young married couple Kyle and Camille (Kyle is a closeted gay man). They intend to spend two summer weeks at the beach but the 'vacation' is far from relaxing. Tommy soon takes notice of Simon, Kyle's 15-yer-old student (whose won father is abusive and just happens to be the new District Attorney) and in time progresses toward a disastrous liaison. Nathan struggles with yet another intrusion into his privacy with the entrance of an archeological dig in his cornfield, and that crimp in his privacy is heightened by the madness of Tommy with Philip moving toward dissolution of a shallow relationship mirrored by Kyle and Camille when Kyle gets far too involved with his physical needs with men. Despite Nathan's warnings to Tommy that he is headed toward trouble with his behavior with Simon, the inevitable happens and tragedy ensues for both of the brothers.

One of the stunning aspects of this fine novel is Yates' concept of brotherhood that binds Nathan and Tommy, a brotherhood that has no equal in contemporary literature. The brothers truly love each other and struggle through their childhood with an abusive father, finding solace with each other, even to the point that they carry on a mutually successful sex life with each other. In some writers' hands this topic of incestuous relationship would be ruinous: in Yates hands he gives us one of the most beautifully rich bondings that is equally sensuous and spiritual. The boys are both so desperate to be loved that they find satisfaction in each other ... and a few memories of their mother's love. Nathan: 'I was only four years old, and I had never known what love really was until the day I saw my mother singing to my brother. Before then it was only a word, just an abstract concept I confused with simple affection. But that was the day it became a reality, something palpable and awful and heart stopping...If it doesn't drop you to your knees and make you shake like a set dog, it's not love.'

With THE BROTHERS BISHOP Yates confirms the promises made in LEAVE MYSELF BEHIND as one of the more poignant and gifted writers, especially in gay fiction. It is one of those books you hope never ends and when it ends with the heart-tugging tragedy Yates has us by the throat. A finely written, intelligent, engrossing novel that begs to be re-read. Highly Recommended.


  1. I definitely want to read this. :)

    1. I can e-mail you the Kindle Version if you want to read it.

  2. Replies
    1. It is a good read, opened my mind to a few things you should read it.




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