BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

We Had No Rules by Corinne Manning [in Booklist]

Corinne Manning’s author statement couldn’t be clearer. “I had no idea how to write authentically until the day when I typed the sentence ‘Oh, f*ck it. I’m writing lesbian fiction.’” That declaration became “Gay Tale,” one of 11 stories in this collection, her first, about the myriad ways of falling, making, betraying, and celebrating love.

“We Had No Rules” and “The Wallaby” share the same narrator, a 16-year-old who has run away to live with her sister in New York City, in the former; in the other, set decades later, she faces the loss of that now fatally ill sibling. Three family members affected by divorce each get a story, moving backwards in time: the cuckolded husband attending his ex-wife’s funeral in “The Appropriate Weight“; the gay wife concerned about their distracted adult daughter in “Seeing in the Dark”, and the daughter as a 16-year-old discovering romance in “The Only Pain You Feel.”

Perceived infidelity cleaves a couple in “Professor M”, and casual infidelity destroys in “Chewbacca and Clyde.” Two young gay lovers coincidentally both have (very different) gay uncles in “The Boy on the Periphery of the World.” Outrageous behavior abounds in “Ninety Days” and “The Painting on Bedford Avenue.”

Wistful, funny, angry, bitter, raw – Manning both shocks and enthralls.

Review: “Fiction,” Booklist, April 1, 2020

Readers: Adult

Published: 2020


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