Family Dancing

Family Dancing - David Leavitt [These notes were made in 1989:]. This collection of short stories had a pleasant surprise at the end - a story I knew and liked from a collection of Christopher Street stories I once owned. Leavitt is a young gay writer, but his stories are not all "about" being gay. They do not shy away, however, from the family & personal consequences of being gay, and some of the stories - notably the first one, "Territory" - are directly about that. His characters are far from stereotypical, and in one or two of the stories he writes, quite successfully I thought, from the point of view of a woman. The writing is not obtrusively impressive; it's quiet and colloquial, and rarely pulls attention to the surface of the story. But obviously it does the job. Leavitt tackles the family relationships of other people who feel marginalized as well - the terminally ill, the physically deformed, and, yes (in "Dedicated," the last story) the fag hag. But the stories are not as depressing as you might think. There is a sort of comfort in the going-on-ness of things. Leavitt offers no false comfort, no nineteenth-century happy endings. But I devoured the stories one after the other nonetheless.