In the Mirror a Monster
Marten Weber's 7th gay novel, "In The Mirror, A Monster," is a monster of a read; slow and meandering at best it should have been a very short story. Instead it is stretched to the limits to fill a novel size story.
Tim and Tim are an elderly gay couple who have been together for 30 years. They own and run a B&B near Edinburgh, Scotland. Tim is a retired schoolteacher while Tim is a self-described "white blob" confined to a wheelchair but playing mother to all their B&B guests.
Sometimes the boys/guests stay for a few weeks, sometimes they stay for a season or even years. When the story begins the characters in residence include Jamie - a blonde American fucking machine, Javier - a student who studies pornography as much as his subjects, and Aleysha - an African refugee - and her baby.
The story is told in the first person of wheelchair Tim and for no discernable reason, it is told to the deceased Mr. Dedalus.
Into this setting comes a handsome Slovak male couple - Claudio and Lukas. They look, act and sound like a gay couple, but the Tims and the residents begin to wonder if indeed they are a couple.
The above and the resolution to the mystery of Claudio and Lukas' relationship is the entire story, one that takes over 250 pages to tell.
It's not that Weber can't construct an interesting, even intriguing sentence. It's just that he can't stop writing them.
Weber takes over 10 pages to introduce the Jamie character using no dialogue just descriptive sentences. Just when he seems to begin to unravel the couple's mystery, Weber takes his readers down a 40-page tangential rabbit hole. Then he teases the reader by taking them down 3 or 4 more rabbit holes. When Weber reveals the final denouncement you realize how shallow and boring the novel has been. In an unintentional forecast of the novel, on page 36, wheelchair Tim poses the question to Mr. Dedalus "are you listening or am I boring you?" We're bored.
The redeeming grace of "In The Mirror, A Monster" is that Weber questions what does being gay mean. Are you gay/are we labeled gay just because of the gender of the person you have sex with? Can you be gay without having gay sex? Can you be in a relationship with someone and not be gay? Interesting thoughts in an uninteresting novel.
"In The Mirror, A Monster," published by Aquarius Publishing is now available.
By Aquarius Publishing