Title: Blank Space
Author Name & Publisher: Francis Gideon (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 12, 2016 – 222 pgs
After a reunion concert for his favourite band, Curtis and Adrian remember all the things that used to keep them together before they met their wives and had kids. When Adrian’s conversation suddenly turns sexual, Curtis isn’t quite sure how to proceed. Their past together is long gone, but the unrequited feelings still remain. Curtis and his wife have always gone by the rule of look, but don’t touch, so talking, he figures, is okay.
As their conversations grow in frequency and intensity, Curtis starts to wonder more and more about what might have been with Adrian and what it could be now. Curtis still loves his wife, his family and their life together, which he thinks leave him with no happy options for anyone’s future…
Another thing I loved was reading about men in their late 30s. So much of what they express is familiar–walking the line between missing their 20s and yet not really wanting to go back there. They have a kind of chemistry which is neither slow-burn nor desperate heat. It’s more like an awakening, raw and emotional. At times, it’s almost painful to read, but at the same time, it’s also good.
I think I spent about half of this book crying because what Curtis and Adrian feel about different aspects of their lives is so real and so relatable. I suspect most bi folks past age 35, regardless of gender, would see kindred spirits in one or both of these men. Fair warning: That could make it really tough to read for some people.
I had anticipated that there would be some infidelity as Curtis and Adrian worked through their relationship. Surprisingly, there isn’t. They skirt the line, but for the most part, they are refreshingly honest with their wives. This, too, is such a wonderful part of the story–the wives are not accessories or insignificant, and the couples’ intimacy is not left off-page.
The only thing I struggled with were some scenes with Simone. She felt like a fantasy wife/wish fulfillment at at times–almost too perfectly understanding. Not only that, she seemed to exemplify the idea that bi women lose their identity once partnered. It was somewhat unbelievable that a woman open to polyamory would herself suggest all she needed was her man, a baby, and some time to do artwork. She also seemed to imply being bi was part of her artist persona. I was troubled by the way the book went out of the way to dispel myths about male bisexuality and polyamory but left myths about female bisexuality largely untouched, chiefly that bi women have virtually no sexuality outside of their partners and that men are ultimately the fulfillment of all forms of sexuality. That said, I think Simone is, underneath, a complex character, and I would trust this author to give her a story of her own at some point. Perhaps she has unexamined needs herself.
This is a beautiful, emotional exploration of two people realizing their capacity to love is greater than how they’ve been expressing it. While it represents only one way to be polyamorous (and the characters even allude to this), it’s an excellent story full of love and hope.
This is the first time I have read a book that was like this. I have to say that I really liked it. I love how the two families talked amongst themselves and came up with a solution to the issues together that worked for all of them.
From the very beginning of the book I could tell that Curtis and Adrian had feelings for one another and that they was having a difficult time not acting on these feelings. In some ways them going behind Darcy and Simone’s back and talking about sex between the two of them was a betrayal but I have to say that I was truly impressed with the way both of the women handled the situation.
Simone and Darcy are both selfless women in my opinion. They both know they stand a chance at losing their husbands to each other but they are willing to take a chance at making what they call a cross couples quad relationship work. These are definitely two very strong women and both of the men are very lucky to have them in their corner.
I think that the love that all four of these people have for each other is just an amazing love story. I can see this actually working relationship wise with open minded people who were willing to sacrifice a little to get back a whole lot more in return.
This story is very inspiring in my opinion and I am very glad that I read it. Great job on this book Francis. It was very interesting and very well put together. Can’t wait to read more of your books.
Francis Gideon is an editor and writer. He has appeared in Microscenes, Gay Flash Fiction, and JMS Books. He lives in Canada.