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A Song in the Park
A tale of two men haunted by their past.
Nothing would ever be the same for Michael Anderson, a renowned San Diego surgeon, after losing a little girl on the operating table. He blamed himself, rightfully, having stayed out the night before, indulging in his exotic nightlife.
A half continent away, Justin Brooks left his bride to be standing at the altar when he ran from the church as if it were full of vampires. Leaving his hometown and his past behind, he found solace in the vast desert wilderness of far west Texas, as a park ranger in the Big Bend National Park.
Their paths crossed in the Big Bend, where the river, desert and mountains meet the sky, and a friendship was born. Together, as one day ran into another, they found peace in the whispering hues and textures of the arid land. And they began to heal, learning more and more of themselves and each other. They loved the mountains and sunsets, and the poetry of the land, and they loved each other. Not until the day came, when they faced losing everything they had found, did both realize yet another destiny in the Big Bend. Neither could have foreseen the peril they would have to live through first.
From the Author
In writing about men who love men, Martin Brant creates tales that celebrate the joys of human emotion and diversity. Written in a mainstream style, his novels can be enjoyed by either gender or any sexual persuasion.
Reviewer: Guy V. De Rosa "Tenacious One" (Los Angeles, California)
An Outstanding Read!
I loved this book! Not only was it an easy read, but the story and its characters were terrific. (It's one of those books that you hate to see have to come to an end). Two men, one white, one black find each other after both have had personal setbacks in their lives. Michael and Justin, who at first seem a most unlikely pair, discover each other and individually and together they deal with their personal issues as well as confront a situation that comes close to ending their almost perfect relationship. As you read, you keep waiting for the axe to fall, (and sure enough it eventually does). One of the things I really enjoyed about this story is that Mr. Brandt has a well developed plot and at the same time when he writes about the intimate moments these two men share, it borders on erotica. I have read a considerable amount of gay literature and I must say this is one piece that I will return to and read again and again. Treat yourself to an outstanding read, you definitely will not be disappointed! This is the authors first novel and I anxiously await his next endeavor.
Reviewer: Reluctant Reviewer (North Yorkshire, England)
My thoughts on "Song in the Park"
I hadn't read a gay related novel for many years as most of what I had previously read invariably consisted of a poorly constructed plot, obviously leading to one thing, and one thing only.
However, I was in the Castro over New Year and decided to buy this book. And I was pleased I did so. Brant constructs an excellent framework for his novel (pity it should have "A Gay Novel" in its title, after all did Jane Austen prefece "Vanity Fair" with "...a novel about heterosexual macinations..."?
The plot and its numerous sub-plots blend together seamlessly. the characters - especially the male ones - are well-defined and one can sympathise with their situations and just how the two are drawn together.
The descriptions of the settings are clearly defined and there are times I wish I could have found, and had time to enjoy the areas of countryside described by Brant so vividly.
When the couple eventually do "find one another" (and it takes many pages before they do, thus heightening the tension and expectation) it is beautifully described. Indeed every description of their couplings are handled with sensitivity without taking away the intense sensuality that the author portrays.
All in all, a delightful read, which I personally enjoyed tremendously, especially as we were touring around the West coast of America at the time, which included a spell in the mountains above Santa Barbara near to Los Olivos.
Reviewer: R. A Rippy "rarippy" (Shelbyville, Tennessee)
A Song InThe Park! WOW!
This was a wonderful and well written love story. I couldn't put it down until I finished it because it was so good! Love is love no matter what your sexual preference is and this story more than proved it!
Great book Mr. Brant!
Reviewer: James R. Bratcher (Richardson, Texas)
A thoughtful and endearing read.
It took less time to finish than I expected because I never found a place I wanted to stop reading. The story deals with the emotional aspects of two dispirited men finding and getting to know each other. The characters come alive and win your heart with their struggle to cope with the past and start a new life in the remote west Texas desert. The setting made me wonder what it would be like to live in such a vast and open terrain, where just opening your eyes is one of life's greatest rewards. It's a well-paced, entertaining story, the kind you don't want to see come to an end.
It's Brant's first novel, so as thoughtfully written as it is, I found his enthusiasm forgivable. I'm looking forward to his next book.
Born on the banks of the Amazon River, I was raised by a Kaiapo wet-nurse while my mother taught the villagers to play the violin and conducted medical research. After growing up with the Kaiapo children and a long bout of malaria, I went on to get my degree in rocket science at the University of Uganda, (U of U). To this day, I have not gotten a rocket off the ground. Presently, Im trying to raise money to return to the Amazon to show gratitude to my surrogate mother, whom Ive not seen in all these years.
My earliest memories, at least those that are still fairly clear, are of those initial stages of puberty, when a boy begins to notice things about himself that are changing, when all of a sudden he realizes theres more to his body than a place to put Band- Aids. I noticed these same things about the other boys in the village, as we ran and played and wrestled together and threw sticks at the monkeys. Hmm, I thought . . . what had been a nondescript and easy-to-ignore anomaly had become the center of attention. The other boys my age had these odd shaped, rather impractical danglings between their legs, too, whereas the girls did not! In the back of my mind, I knew this all-of-a-sudden, rather handsome centerpiece must be used for more than taking aim in a peeing contest. A boy senses there is more to it than that.
Why, for instance, when another boy approaches, now that the color has changed and theres hair, is ones attention so magnetically drawn to that part of his body? (Except for the occasional loincloth, most of us were usually naked.) Why, concerning the workings of my own mind, all this curiosity? Why this urge to touch? And most importantly, why, beyond my curiosity about the other boys, this sudden preoccupation with my own genitals, especially at night when no one was looking?
As I entered the later teen years, I began to notice the subtle things about the other boys, things I liked, things I wanted to be part of, the camaraderie and such. It felt good to be one of the boys. I wanted to throw a spear as far as they could, laugh at the same things, tell lies about deflowering virgins. But along with this endeavor to be like the others, I wrestled with secrets I wasnt about to confess, let alone try to act on or initiate. So like the others, I satisfied my adolescent fantasies by participating in circle jerks, determined to not be last to shoot, for that, though no one ever said it in so many words, seemed to denigrate ones masculinity. And there was the occasional game of 556-Is-Calling that the boys played while sleeping out together under the stars. Its a lot like Grab Ass, but in this game the object was to get a handful of someones dick while keeping the others from getting a handful of yours. Sad commentary when you d rather lay one of them out and do some serious exploring, though certainly better than no physical contact at all.
Then there was Kalo: bronze hairless body, fleshy round butt, strong legs and a smile that emptied my head of all other thoughts. What about him, and why did I spend so much time looking at him? I watched him fish, sharpen poison darts, flirt with girls, and I especially enjoyed watching him climb a tree. Something was telling me there were more possibilities and I sensed it had everything to do with our bodies; along with the fact that it seemed there could be something really special about having a close friendship with a guy, which included unstated understandings and sharing secrets no one else would ever know. So during all those years of puberty and adolescence I developed a private perception of what seemed like a logical and quite wonderful kind of male bonding
However, before I boarded that boat to Uganda, I had noticed something else that was common in the village: that remarkable union between a man and a woman, that closeness, that mutual trust. At night, I would sit not far from the cook fire and watch the couples interact with each other as the evening wound down. The innuendos and knowing glances were obvious. I would watch fathers proudly pick up their children and bounce them on their knee. During the night, long after the couples had disappeared into their huts, I would listen to the interesting noises that wafted in the dark. All of that, I decided, was for me.
Back in the States, it was a series of young women and romance, all of the wonderful and miserable experiences a young man finds himself involved in while trying to figure out what direction his life will go. I started my career and immersed myself in the senseless routines of one who thinks he will live forever. Somewhere in there, I started an auto parts manufacturing company. Here was a quagmire that lasted fourteen years, another lesson in life. It was during the Carter yearsyou may remember Jimmy Carter, and his Misery Index. In case you dont, the Misery Index was the sum total of inflation, unemployment and interest rates. Now this was a real witchs brew for someone trying to grow a business, or should I say trying to survive in business. Along with the countless government agencies manufacturers have to contend with, which is akin to being up to your ass in alligators, I learned I wasnt cut out for it. Looking back, maybe I should have instead moved into a trailer down by the river and begun my full time writing career. Trust me, there are circumstances that make poverty awfully appealing.
One day a mutual friend arranged for me a blind dinner date. Skeptical as I was, Im here today to testify on behalf of love at first sight. She was a tall blonde. I wouldnt include what transpired over the next six months in a novel because no one would believe it. Here, all the familiar terms are appropriate: soul mate, best friend, confidant, lover. I knew almost from the first minute that I wanted to grow old with this woman. Youve heard of thick and thinthis lady has stayed with me through it all. Probably our most notable adventure was the time we sold everything and went to New Mexico to open a small restaurant. Neither one of us knew the first thing about it. Not to be discouraged, we rented a location in a small resort town and set about building the tables and scrounging up the equipment we thought wed need; then opened what became a vastly popular eatery. After a few years, this delightful woman went along with my expansion idea, which led to relocating in a larger town. Big mistake. For a number of reasons. But thats neither here nor there. We had a beautiful stucco home that overlooked the Rio Grande Valley and Rocky Mountains, and we enjoyed the finest climate in the world in one of our most beautiful states, and it all came to an end. She lovingly trekked back to Texas with me, and we started over again. Today, being the first to read my novels, my wife is my biggest fan.
Where does al of this leave those early discoveries concerning relationships between two men? Am I tempted by things that, during the general course of my day- to-day life, remain unsaid? Do I take notice of a pair of tight-fitting masculine jeans, or the pattern of hair on a forearm, or a sweat drenched t-shirts on a runner? Am I swayed by a pair of broad shoulders and narrow hips, or the day-old stubble across a strong jaw, or all of the other nuances that make a male a male? . . .Well, at some point we all have to choose the road we travel. . . .We cant have it all, can we?
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