Lesbian writer Mary Renault proved that you don’t have to be male to write great gay novels. Courtney Lux follows in her footsteps. Her main character, Trip, escapes from an Alabama town after an abusive childhood. He had become the runner for his drug-dealing family, but flees to New York.
In New York, Trip earns a meager living by playing guitar in parks, pick-pocketing, and entertaining johns. He encounters Nathaniel, who has been rejected by a boyfriend. The two lost souls begin a tenuous relationship and sustain each other after many trials and tribulations but also with affection and love. In the end, Trip and Nate face eviction and loss. It is uncertain whether there will be an ultimately happy conclusion.
Most of the book is written in the third person, with the author serving as an omniscient reporter, commenting on thoughts and feelings, with frequent dialogue. Some chapters are narrated in Trip’s tentative voice, as he wonders and searches. The author’s tone is empathetic. The sex in this novel is well described but not overly graphic.
Small Wonders is charming and heartwarming, highly recommended for all libraries and individuals who are interested in contemporary LGBT writing. This title could be appropriate for older young adults, especially those exploring their sexuality.
James Doig Anderson
Professor Emeritus of Library and Information Science, Rutgers University