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Closet His Closet Hers : Collected Stories - Michael Burge

Closet His Closet Hers

Collected Stories

Paperback Published: 2nd September 2015
ISBN: 9780994388728
Number Of Pages: 238

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A collection of ten stories, variations on a theme: hiding from the truth.
The matron who interprets her sexual desire as physical pain, obsessed with one of her nurses to the point of stalking.
The father who has liaisons with men at public toilets, and the kid who works out he knows the bloke.
The painter who is out but not too proud, not until she's achieved something with her life, and the Auschwitz survivor she must care for in her day job.
The mother who tries to find 'the right girl' for her son, only to come face-to-face with his male partner.
The daughter who finds her gay uncle on Facebook and confronts her Christian father about his homophobia in one insightful email.
The teenager who realises at Bible camp that he's as gay as one of the teachers, and the girl who unwittingly pursues him.
The artist who rents a room to his childhood friend, only to face the consequences of the secrets they tease out of one another.
The country woman who is not sure if what she sees from her back step is real or not, and the grandson who comes out to her in a postcard.
Captured at the crossroads of their lives, these people face choices between extraordinary heroism and cowardice.

A collection of stories, worthy of the read.


I usually open a book of short stories with a certain level of trepidation. Even though I have a number of collections of short stories by several authors, I frequently find that many of the stories are as fulfilling as rummaging around an empty box of chocolates, sniffing the wrappings for the ghost of the chocolate. Often in the pages I find partially formed characters around a vague story that ultimately doesn't satisfy. But, this collection was different. From the first story, the characters appear fully formed and the stories are strong. The book is about identity. In some stories it's about people finding their identity, in others they are slowly losing it. Some have their identity removed from them by other people who are afraid of what they see. The book is about passion, it is about life, death, and everything in between that makes us human. The first story is a dark tale of repression, lust, shame, fear, love, desire and secrets. This is a man who is ashamed of what he feels for his son, he holds secrets from his wife who he loves, but feels he is failing. He has desires that seem to control his behaviour and he is ultimately afraid of what those desires mean. From here, you are led almost seamlessly from story to story, life to life. A woman who has only one desire, to lose something unwanted. A young woman trying to use the bible to teach her father about acceptance. An old woman who is slowly losing her identity to dementia. A man whose mother is so afraid of who her son is that she erases his partner from existence. Some people you meet for their lifetime, while others you visit for less than a day. Each person, each family, is so exquisitely brought to life by Michael. In only a few pages you know these people, you want to reach into the pages and hold them to you. Some you want to hug, some you want to whisper that everything is going to be okay, some you want to give a solid talking to. But at the end of each story, you mourn their passing. Occasionally I shook my hand at Michael's book because I didn't want to leave this particular family or this particular person, I wanted to spend more time with them, but no, Michael was moving on to the next story. Other times, I closed my eyes at the end of the last word of the last sentence and sighed for the story's perfect ending. The writing is simple. It contains no Regency era flowery prose, a la Ms Austen. But, Michael weaves a magic that engages you, draws you in, and then you come across a sentence, a paragraph, that when finished, you re-read, and re-read again, because what it is saying is so true, so real that you don't want to lose it. There is a common theme to this book. These are stories of people who are same-sex attracted, or have family members who are same sex attracted. These are tales of personal and familial struggles, victories and losses. If you are a person who has issues with same-sex relationships, you may find these stories to be a little confronting. But, I urge you to read them, because ultimately, these are stories that everyday people are living, every day. When I finished the last story I closed my Kindle with satisfaction and sadness. I want to know these people better. I want to spend more time with them. But, that is the magic of books. In a few weeks, when my hard copy of the book arrives, I can open the book and dive back into their lives.



Closet His Closet Hers

5.0 1


ISBN: 9780994388728
ISBN-10: 0994388721
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 238
Published: 2nd September 2015
Publisher: Michael Burge
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.84 x 12.85  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.24