A Reluctant Heir. Bad Manners. Emotive Music.

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Allen Bratton – Henry Henry 

About Henry Henry his extraordinary new novel, Allen Bratton writes, “London, 2014. Hal Lancaster – twenty-two, gay, Catholic, chops lines of cocaine with his my Waitrose card – is the reluctant heir of his father Henry, the sixteenth Duke of Lancaster. Henry is half tyrant, half martyr, with an investment in his eldest son that has grown into an obsession. While Hal floats between internships and drinking sessions, Henry keeps him in check with passive-aggression, religious guilt, and a cruelty that Hal sometimes confuses for tenderness. When a grouse shooting accident – funny in retrospect – makes a romance out of Hal’s rivalry with fumblingly leftist family friend Harry Percy, Hal finds that he wants, for the first time, a life of his own. But his father Henry is an Englishman: he will not let his son escape tradition. To save himself, Hal must reckon not only with grief and shame but with the wounds of his family’s past.” Just like his book, Bratton’s overview is resplendent with ideas, descriptions  and teasing intrigue carefully orchestrated with an economy of words. With obvious reverence to Shakespeare’s Henriad, Allen Bratton has created with Hal that rare thing in literary fiction: a genuine character, perhaps one of the few true characters to emerge from this new generation of queer literature. When asked how he’d come to write the book Allen answers, “Because I wanted to read it and knew nobody else was going to write it. I thought that if I waited for someone else to do it, I might be waiting a long time.” Then he adds, “I had this feeling I’m living in a narrow window where I could write directly about queer sex and it would be taken seriously”

Matthew RusnakGalateo: Or, The Rules of Polite Behavior

Some of the characters in Henry Henry are certainly capable of bad behavior. They can be vulgar, rude, obnoxious and often unrefined, these are some of the epithets described with often hilarious disdain in Galateo: Or, The Rules of Polite Behavior. Although written in Renaissance Italy, it’s just as fresh and pertinent today. Editor and translator, Matthew Rusnak offers a droll take on academia, explaining how the author, Giovanni Della Casa, gives instructions for civilized behavior, which includes making sure nothing falls out of your nose when passing someone a drink.

Dominick Martin – My Friend Alone

Dominick Martin, better known by his stage name Calibre, is a Northern Irish drum and bass music producer and DJ from Belfast. Calibre’s record label Signature Recordings out of Dublin. The album was titled after Valentia Island, located off of the south-western coast of Ireland, where much of it was recorded. Martin, who brought with him only a laptop and microphone, said of the location: “In one of the rooms sat a piano, and as my fingers touched the keys I knew there was a story there waiting to be told. The sound of the piano in that place was something very magical as 100mph winds battered the house and interrupted my recordings.”

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