Title: A Winter in Rome
Author Name & Publisher: Francis Gideon (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 1, 2015 – 192 pgs
Craig is a man adrift, never quite feeling like he belongs or like he’s as successful and settled as those around him-especially his lovers, Alan, an art professor he met while in college, and Sybil, who tutored him throughout his Italian class. When Alan goes to Rome life becomes even shakier and the only grounding point becomes the corkboard of memories Craig creates for the three of them. By the time Alan returns, Craig isn’t certain how his relationships will change-especially when Alan starts to fall for Sybil, bringing two pieces of his world completely together and leaving Craig worried it will create a world that has no place for him.
This is what fandom calls an OT3, bloggers call a F/M/M (more on that), and traditionalists call a menage a trois. So immediately my mind went to sex. There’s a small amount of sex in this book. But it’s really more of a treatise on existentialism, art, and gender. Which I LOVE. Action-packed, it is not.
We see three characters through Craig’s eyes. We see Craig himself, affable, recently-graduated college student, with no purpose to his life. We see Alan, part typical professor/part infectious artist. And we see Sybil, Craig’s lover, Alan’s paramor. The third leg of the stool? Or the wedge between Alan and Craig?
What’s refreshing about this book (besides its sedate eloquence) is that Craig, Alan, and Sybil are all good people. They want to do right by the world and right by each other. That means also figuring out what’s right for themselves. It’s something to aspire to, rather than something to indulge in.
Yes, it’s rather privileged and bourgeois, but it’s also about how to love. Something many of us could benefit from learning.
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Francis Gideon is an editor and writer. He has appeared in Microscenes, Gay Flash Fiction, and JMS Books. He lives in Canada.
Author’s GoodReads Page