Wednesday, 1 September 2021

What I'm reading: Lesbian lives - joys and disappointments

 V G LEE: Oh You Pretty Thing

A collection of lesbian short stories would not be my usual choice of holiday reading, but I enjoyed this selection immensely. Valerie Lee is a member of Gay Authors Workshop, one of our most talented members, I have to say. Several of her stories feature women who married men before they realized they preferred the company of women. Lesbians with straight women friends is another recurring theme, which generates some crisp comedy, like Deirdre in the final story: ‘I am not a lesbian, but I’m open to temptation.

V.G.Lee’s ladies live ordinary lives. They experience small joys, small slights, small disappointments. In the title story, a novella, Julie’s marriage disintegrates slowly and cruelly. In another ironically titled novella, The Time of Their Lives, Cathy remembers her vile father: “We needed the handprints he’d left across our lives to fade”; she more fondly recalls a lesbian aunt who danced in and out of her nieces’ lives and left an indelibly glamorous wake.

These are fiercely honest stories written in a crystal clear prose. This is very, very fine writing.

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