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“Quinn invests The Good Neighbor with effortless prose that's a pleasure to read, a nimble sense of nuance that gives it complex emotional texture, and a deep intelligence about how couples can love each other while dealing with imbalance in their lives. This is the good gay novel about suburbia and its torments that John Updike won't ever write.”—Richard Labonte
“In rich, languid and perfectly nuanced prose, author Jay Quinn traces the arc of each character . . . casting a unique spell over many of the assumptions and stereotypes of suburban family life.”—Curled Up With a Good Book
Praise for Back Where He Started:
“Jay Quinn’s masterpiece. You don’t have to be gay, Catholic, or Southern to enjoy this wonderful book. Engrossing and inspiring.”—Gay Today
Rory Fallon is walking his dog when he notices activity at the house next door. New neighbors, namely, the Hardens, are moving in—Austin and his wife Meg, along with their two kids. Rory introduces himself, and can’t help but notice how intrigued Austin is when it’s mentioned just who Rory lives with: his partner of many years, handsome Bruno Griffin. Indeed, the last thing Austin expected in this small Florida enclave was having a gay couple for neighbors. But life has more surprises in store, for Austin and for Rory, and soon new questions are asked, about love and about marriage, and how their roles help define—and alter—the people around them.
A main selection of the InsightOut Book Club.
29 Comments Comment
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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
Metes and Bounds and The Good Neighbor) were amazing for many reasons
By Sean D. Nickell
I happened upon Jay Quinn's novels earlier this summer. I have two left to go and am saddened that I didn't find his books sooner. The first three I've read (Back Where He Started, Metes and Bounds and The Good Neighbor) were amazing for many reasons. I've loved, Loved, LOVED that all three novels have a few commonalities (Catholicism [even for this ex-Catholic], smoking, strong well-reasoned protagonist, southeastern settings, the love of water and more) while allowing us to experience a short period of time with each protagonist who is on a journey towards of acceptance of the issue that's arrived directly in his path. By the time I finished the third novel, it occurred to me how unique the voice of each main character has been for each, as well as, the author's deep love and use of language. These I appreciate the most. I can't wait for the fourth and am glad there's a fifth. Keep them coming, Jay!
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
Neighbors, Friends and Lovers
By J. Sidelinger
I truly enjoy Jay Quinn as a writer and "The Good Neighbor" is the fourth novel ("The Beloved Son", "Back Where He Started", and "The Boomerang Kid") I've read but enjoyed a little less so than the others. The main characters in this particular novel were not entirely sympathetic or likeable although I felt I understood what drove each character's behavior. Also, what's with the cigarettes/smoking and Oxycontin fixation? I didn't notice it as much in "The Beloved Son"; however, it seems to be a recurring device threaded throughout Mr. Quinn's novels (I've read so far). At this point, it is more a curiosity for me rather than a complaint or objection - I imagine myself asking him if he happened to be at a book signing or reading.
Regardless, the author has a real talent for unfolding a good story and capturing the rich nuances of Southern speak for his characters - I'm reminded of time spent in Morehead City, NC and Columbia, SC when reading the dialogue. I also appreciate what seems to be a caring study of relationships in his novels: parents, children, siblings, and longtime partners - both het and gay. "The Good Neighbor" certainly explores partner relationships and boundaries. Is it okay for one person in the relationship to have indiscretions while the loving, nurturing partner keeps their bond together by being so forgiving - justifying or excusing the action while ignoring their own hurt? Is this realistic or just an ideal? If one person (whether male or female) has the stronger personality in the relationship - will they or do they tend to emasculate their partner? In this story both the wife and alpha male partner seem to do so in their respective relationships, which could be construed as cliché, yet the author somehow manages to find some way to redeem them and/or the story just enough...maybe it is Southern charm. The protagonists in this particular novel may not be the most likeable, and it isn't my favorite Jay Quinn work, but I do think it is worth reading. Heck, I may read it again tonight just to see if I like it better the second time around and perhaps gain some insight into the smoking thing.
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
Jay Quinn is one of the best gay novelists out there today. There are many around but usually the quality of work provided is light, frothy somewhat superficial beach read material. Jay Quinn takes his work seriously and has a purpose with each novel he writes. He takes his role as author seriously and respectfully provides the reader with a quality, well written piece of literature while proving quality character profiles.
Here he explores marriage, partnership, identity, self worth, masculinity and how we deal with all these things. We are taken to suburban South Florida and our main characters are two couples - Austin and Meg who are married with two sons and Rory and Will who are life partners. The two couples form a very close friendship and all four are very well developed characters. Austin and Rory in particular form a special, unique friendship as they seem to feel their indivividual identities wilting away as their respective partners careers and lives seem more on a forward track.
Jay Quinn provides a very mature, adult perspective and holds nothing back as he allows Austin and Rory to become raw with their fragility and loss of self. He uses sexuality not for gratuituous reasons in this novel but it is utilized in very realist, believable watys. Sex is almost another character in this novel. It has a great power - sometimes it is just sex but often it is an expression of so much more. This novel will raise many questions for the reader. You may judge some of the characters. Some won't. It is this type of novel, the type that makes you think, that shows a quality piece of work.
Jay Quinn holds nothing back and this novel is for all readers - all adults and all couples - gay and straight. This novel is an intricate psychological profile of four very interesting characters.
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