Zeischegg, Christopher. “Come to My Brother”, UNK, Inc.,2017.
David and Daniel
I do not often start my reviews with superlatives but this time I am going to make an exception and say “Wow” about Christopher Zeischegg’s “Come to My Brother”. I just closed the covers of one of the first books in a long time that has mesmerized me. Zeischegg has created two characters in David and Daniel that are going to be with me for a very long time.
David and Daniel grew up together in Northern California and became friends, then brothers who started a band and then became lovers. However, some four years earlier Daniel disappeared. Now he has returned but as something supernatural. Now David divides himself between going to film school and his career as a fetish porn actor. By chance, he and Daniel are reunited. David never really understood what happened to Daniel and why he disappeared that night at the cabin in the woods and he soon learns that this reunion was not by coincidence and that Daniel has changed tremendously.
David splits his time between film school and a job in fetish porn. Life is good until a chance encounter reunites him with Daniel, a former friend and lover. It’s been four years since Daniel disappeared after a dare-fueled encounter with a cabin in the woods. David’s about to learn that their reunion was something more than chance and that Daniel has changed. He now has fangs and quite a story about the past four years. He gives David a chance at a whole new “life” (for lack of a better word). Naturally I am assuming that you see that Daniel has become a vampire. (I thought to myself that I am so tired of reading about gay vampires that I know I am going to hate this book). Yet this is a story that is about so much more than gay vampires—- it is a story about friendship, love and loss, porn and sex and the vampire theme is there as a way to look at life from the outside in. I have always thought that the reason gay men love vampire stories is because like the bloodsuckers, we are outsiders who yearn to be part of the society that excludes us. What I really find amazing and totally fascinating here is the way Zeischegg brings together aspects of horror with life in the real world thus making this supernatural story read as if it is really happening. It is not easy to write about the paranormal while at the same time writing about the human world.
Here is a novel that is a new kind of coming-of-age story yet it retains the angst that is so much a part of that process. We read about comfortable life only to have the true horror emerge out of it and it is there with emotion, violence and love. What is surprising is that the world of the vampire and the world of humanity have a great deal in common.
Usually in novels of this kind, there is a great deal of wild sex that is described in detail but you will not find that here. What you do find is a look at the relationships that make up our lives and how we try to find our place in society. I found a great deal of relevance to the way we live now and many of you might see yourself once or twice here. I have always considered good literature to be an art form that makes us think; think not only about what we have read but how it fits into our lives. This book does just that. I am sure that I will be thinking about it for a very long time.
*I did not mention the AKA Danny Wylde but those of you who know will recognize who that is.