Foreign Affairs: Male Tales of Lust & Love
Details of exotic locales, antisemitism, gay rights and sensibilities, and poignant, sometimes explicit, intimate encounters are meshed together in Foreign Affairs: Male Tales of Lust & Love, a collection of eleven short stories by Daniel M. Jaffe.
“The Importance of Being Jurassic” is set in Dublin and examines the public vote on gay marriage as well as the influence the Catholic Church had on suppressing the rights of this community.
A trip to discover one’s roots expands into a history of part of the Holocaust, as experienced by Jews in Terezin. This underpins “The Cobblestone Elegy,” a story set in Prague.
In “Gift Wrapped,” an exploration of prejudice, the author peels back layers to conclude that what you believe has a lot to do with where you came from and who your influences were.
The desperation of a sophisticated woman to escape the economic, political, and spiritual repression of authoritarian Russia is the heartbreaking theme of “Innocence Abroad.”
Other stories in the collection present a history of antisemitism in Spain, a compassionate look at transgender people and the process of sexual reassignment, the economic realities behind prostitution, and even a glimpse into the mind of a pedophile. They are all challenging as well as entertaining.
As a travel writer, Jaffe introduces his destinations as one would a friend, with intimacies known only to a close acquaintance. He suffuses the location with personality by including local history, architecture, and frequently, regional delicacies.
His characters are imbued with wit, warmth, and whimsy, and despite some of their sexual proclivities, they are all human and relatable. Empathy is created through the author’s use of self-deprecating humor and insightful reflection.
A fine writer, Jaffe has a command of language and the difficult medium of the short story. His use of magic realism in some of the work allows for a broader exploration of characters, settings, and themes. Though some might consider the stories bold in subject matter, Foreign Affairs: Male Tales of Lust & Love is an insightful collection of finely crafted stories. One has to wonder why the author chose a cover image and title that depict the book as gay porn.
|Rattling Good Yarns Press
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|Poetry & Short Stories