Sunday, February 28, 2010
Conquering Venus: Collin Kelley. Highly Recommended!!
From the Vanilla Heart publisher's release of the book: In the summer of 1995, young American writer Martin Paige agrees to chaperone a group of high school seniors on their graduation trip to Paris as a favor to his best friend, teacher Diane Jacobs. Diane hopes Europe will act as a catalyst to lift Martin from his grief following the suicide of his lover, Peter. But the trip proves to be more than either of them bargained for. Martin finds himself falling in love with one of her students, David McLaren, who is unprepared to cope with his burgeoning sexuality. He also meets a mysterious Parisian woman, Irène Laureux, who is debilitated by agoraphobia and spends her days spying on the hotel guests across from her apartment. Martin and Irène discover they have a logic-defying connection: a small tribal tattoo on their left hands that means “equal but opposite.” This is same tattoo that Martin’s lover and Irène’s husband had inked into their skin. All the characters lives are irrevocably changed in a horrifying terrorist attack on a Paris metro station. Liberated by the blast, forced from her own self-imprisonment, Irène learns her husband’s death was not an accident, and dares Martin to acknowledge the role he played in Peter’s suicide. Diane, harboring her own secrets and a hidden agenda, takes a drastic step to force David out of the closet and admit his feelings for Martin. From America to England to France, the globe-hopping story places fictional characters amidst historical events such as the Nazi occupation of Paris, the student/worker riots of 1968 and the terrorist bombings of Paris in 1995. Grounded in reality, Conquering Venus is a mystery, a love story and a journey of self-realization.
An interview with Collin about the book is by Jessica Handler on her blog
I couldn't put Collin's book down. Though labeled as 'gay fiction' at Amazon, this book is universal in its appeal. The plot, the locale, the complex interrelationships between characters and the mystery all keep any reader on the edge of his/her seat. I've enjoyed reading Collin for years now on blogger.com. He's an excellent poet as well as novelist. To put it more plainly, he 'has the touch'.
To read excerpts from his novel, view a trailor, and purchase it (several purchasing locations are listed as links), go to www.conqueringvenus.blogspot.com. You'll also find 'ideal actors' Collin has chosen, were the book a movie. I've loved seeing him post those!
An excellent review of the book is at New Southerner.
I highly recommend this book. You won't regret your choice!