Finalist, 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Awards
A small French city. A park near Tokyo. The Czech countryside. London at night. Lost loves and found loves. Fear and courage. Reflections. Rejections. Reconciliations. Romance.
These interconnected stories follow the adventures of Brian, Ondrej, Yuji, Jason, and others as they navigate the tumultuous path of life and love.
Shin-Kiba Park (Pushcart Prize nominee; from Gival Press’s ArLiJo)
Nagasaki (Dana Award finalist; from Polari Journal)
Unfinished (from SNReview)
Ficelle (from SNReview)
“Reunion is set in Tokyo and this is important in that we do not get many gay stories set in Asia and with Asian characters. But even more than that, the novel changes locales and we go to France, to London and to the Czech Republic and we get a series of interconnected stories that all follow the themes of life and love. Something else that is special here is that no one or two stories stand out. Each and every story is a wonderful read and not just the plots make them so good but the gorgeous prose and the way the writer uses emotions to draw us in.”
–Reviews by Amos Lassen
“Brennessel shows his mastery in crafting a surface story that is delightful on its own, yet also resonates with each of the other stories in the collection.
Each story is so intricately entwined with the others that it is difficult to point to any one as being a favorite, although the third story, ‘Nagasaki,’ came closest to earning that superlative[…]
This complex story within a story within a story is a beautiful experiment that succeeds on every level. ’Shin-Kiba Park’ in this collection was nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize in 2008, and this completed collection deserves many more critical accolades.”
—Lambda Literary, Book Lovers
Brandon Meier’s academic year in Europe takes him far beyond
museums, castles, and classrooms. When he embarks on a month-long rail journey,
his sightseeing includes an edgy French boy, a Carravagio-esque Italian, a rich
Swiss lad, a Croatian heartbreaker, and an Indonesian beauty in Amsterdam, to
name but a few. These are lessons no textbook can ever teach.
It’s not long before Brandon realizes that the best
sightseeing is almost always off the beaten path. From sultry nights in saunas,
to midnight strolls in seemingly endless parks, chance encounters in sleepy
seaside towns and nights of wining, dining, BMW convertibles and penthouse
apartments, Brian’s year in Europe is anything but “by the textbook.”
“It’s a petit-four of a story: tasty, with layers, and a mere mouthful. And sometimes a mouthful is all you want.”
–Cryselle’s review of Firenze for Reviews by Jessewave