Currier, Jameson. “The Forever Marathon”, Chelsea Station Editions, 2013.
24 Years—Jesse and Adam
One of the first writers that I reviewed was Jameson Currier and the book was “Where the Rainbow Ends”. That book had a profound impact on me and I think that was because I was living out of the country during the AIDS epidemic and all that I knew about what went on in America was from what I read. Currier put a face on that horrible disease and I began to understand the total effect it had on this country and the gay community. That first book made me a fan and I have read and reviewed all of his books and have never been disappointed. I am always amazed at the diversity with which Currier writes and it reflects the diversity of the community.
We have reached a point that the gay community has achieved varying degrees of acceptance in this country and we are no longer content to read simple coming-out and coming-of-age stories. We want to read about the issues that are important to us now.
Without a doubt, one of those issues is relationships. What happens to couples that have long term relationships? How do they deal with each other when each knows everything about the other? Jesse and Adam have been together for twenty-four years, more than half of their lives. They have had their ups and downs and now they are wealthy. They are able to allow themselves to do what they want whether it is owning expensive automobiles or a country house.
Any of us who have been in long term relationships know what can happen if there is no freshness in the relationship and this is not true just for gay couples. It is so easy to argue about minor things. This is what this book is about.
The two men met as graduate students in New York City and have been together ever since. Now in their forties, passion seems to have left their relationship and the line between love and hate is blurred. It just takes a little spark to ignite a situation in which egos and hearts are bruised. Currier takes us into the middle of the situation where attraction becomes indifference and where what drew them together now forces them apart. Jesse and Adam are far from perfect as well as far from they were once. My first reaction was why would I want to read about something like this. However, as I read I found myself totally absorbed by the book and at the same time I found myself thinking of gay couples who are in similar situations. It is just so interesting to see that the qualities that once engendered love now do just the opposite and as the saying goes, “familiarity breeds contempt”. Somehow the concept of love has run its course and when a small incident during a flight escalates into a war, we see a relationship heading toward death. The descriptions of Jesse and Adam going through the aging process really hit home:
“Jesse’s hearing was stable but his cholesterol was too high…”, “Why did he forget the words to songs he had sung for years…’, “When Adam’s hair first went white…”. I identified with so much of what I read here but I also learned that a good attitude can turn things around.
This is one of those novels in which everything works but the surprise is that instead of being a downer as this novel could easily have become, it is not. Currier has the skill and the prose to raise it up and I certainly hope that this is a trend in LGBT literature. We must address the issues of aging and relationships. What I particularly liked here was the way the minor characters were raised to become important to the plot. I started to read this when it came today in the mail and I did not stop until I finished the book and then sat and stared ahead trying to figure out how I felt. I was unsuccessful in that and I think that is because the story was still fresh in my mind. Maybe tomorrow I will feel differently but the way I review is to write down my first words because those are the ones that are the way the book affected me. So this is my review tonight and maybe tomorrow or next week I will post something completely different but one thing for sure is that the praise for Jameson Currier will remain. I have not covered a great deal of the plot and that is deliberate. Some of it is very personal for me and I do not want to spoil it for anyone else.