Saturday, May 29, 2010

Putting those parental instincts to good use

I just finished the book The Wild Man by Patricia Nell Warren. I borrowed it from the library in the Affirmations center in Ferndale. I chose it because I had enjoyed her other books The Front Runner, Harlan's Race, and Billy's Boy, which are seen as the top novels in gay fiction. Yes, this is a lesbian writing about men loving men.

Wild Man is about a gay bull fighter and his lover in Spain in 1969. Thankfully the only fight described in detail is one in France where killing the bull is not permitted. The tension that drives the plot is that Spain was still under Franco and the regime was Old Catholic fascist. Of course, that meant they did not tolerate gays (quite the contrast of today's Spain, an early adopter of gay marriage). The matador's brother is trying to be a rising star in the regime.

One enjoyable aspect of the story is that the matador and his lover are trying to restore a game preserve that had become over-hunted. They become conservationists. After the novel the author included a few notes, such as how she came to be living in Spain in the late 1960s. She proposes the idea that while gay couples (where they are allowed to be couples) don't reproduce, they do have an evolutionary purpose. Their parental instincts can be turned to the environment as a whole, nurturing plants and animals, making life better for everyone.

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