Category Archives: Classic Good Gay Read

Cleopatra’s Wedding Present Unwrapped

Cleopatra’s Wedding Present
Travels through Syria
Robert Tewdwr Moss

Cleopatra’s Wedding Present was published in 1997 the year after its author’s death. He was murdered on the day he finished it.

The title refers to the fact that in antiquity Syria was given as part of Cleopatra’s dowry and thereby became an Egyptian possession.

I originally read it in the late 90’s. It’s stuck with me and comes to mind every now and then particularly with Syria so much in the news these days. The sub-title, Travels through Syria, is what Moss did back when that was still something one could do. It’s also where he met and had an affair with a Palestinian commando which he chronicled in this slim volume.

The original hardback (pictured) is hard to find these days, and apparently valuable if the resale value on Amazon is anything to go by (and I left mine…?), but it’s been reprinted and is available in a less attractively designed paperback edition. It’s well worth finding and reading.

Robert Tewdwr Moss was, needless to say with a name like that, not a Muslim writer, but if you’re interested in gay characters by Muslim writers check out this post on Five Muslims Who Wrote Gay Charters. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t personally read any of these books, at least not yet.

Handsome Men…

…are Slighty Sunburnt.  I know, it’s an odd title.

Handsome Men are Slightly Sunburnt
Frank Ronan

I was more than happy to find this collection of shorts by Ronan in which he applies his gift with language in the service of telling stories.  The writing is lyrical in the way the Irish make look natural and Ronan uses it to lend dignity, empathy and humor to characters that might otherwise strike a reader as difficult to relate to; shut-ins, closeted gay men, widows. Continue reading

Remembering Mary Renault

It’s Remembrance Sunday in the UK (the equivalent of Memorial Day in the US) and I am remembering Mary Renault who wrote some of the earliest novels with gay characters and themes to find mainstream publication.

Renault is better known for her Greek novels, with their own gay themes, but it’s, “The Charioteer,” (the story of a young man’s coming of age during WWII) which became for a generation of gay men Continue reading