Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Book Review: 'Gay Zoo Day' by Mike McClelland


Pennsylvania born/Georgia transplant author Mike McClelland is a graduate of Allegheny College, the London School of Economics, the MFA Program at Georgia College, and is working toward his doctorate at the University of Georgia. Though GAY ZOO DAY is his literary debut he has authored works in several anthologies and in a variety of literary journals including Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Permafrost, Windmill, Quail Bell Magazine, ImageOutWrite, among others.

The PR release distills the content well – ‘Gay Zoo Day: Tales of Seeking and Discovery is a collection about gay and lesbian travelers seeking more than what life has handed them. Eight stories explore themes of love ad alienation, race and gender, class and privilege, using a variety of genres and perspectives form humorous to the horrific. The collection uses the map of the world to explore the map of the heart, ranging from colonial Kenya to an embattled embassy in Yemen, from a haunted winery in upstate New York to the International Space Station, and in time from the early 1900’s to the near future. Characters approach their inevitable destinations across landscapes of love, death, violence, ambition, and sex. Some seek deliberately, some stumble blindly, but all find more than they were looking for.’

But simply surveying the territory in this magically imaginative book hardly does it justice. Not only are the themes unique and spectrum of feelings immense, but the quality of pros is outstanding. A tidbit of dialog hints at this – (from Mombasa Vengeance) ‘Do you know about the woman? About the baby?’ I hissed. “Yes,” he said, meeting my eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me? She’s your friend, isn’t she. One of the Rabai orphans, Scottish and Kikuyu. The one who married the Englishman and now lives in Nairobi!” I was floundering. How could I widow someone? How could I take a parent away from his child?’

The stories are all over the place physically, in time values, and in extremes of human behavior. And every one of them is a success. Welcome to center stage, Mike McClelland! Grady Harp, September 17
I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it.



Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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