A remarkable debut novel from Jeffrey Luscombe—a compelling series of linked stories of a young man’s coming-out, coming-of-age, and coming-to-terms with his family and fate.
Josh Moore lives with his family on the ‘wrong side’ of Hamilton, a gritty industrial city in southwestern Ontario. As a young boy, Josh plots an escape for a better life far from the steel mills that lined the bay. But fate has other plans and Josh discovers his adult life in Toronto is just as fraught with as many insecurities and missteps as his youth and he soon learns that no matter how far away he might run, he will never be able to leave his hometown behind.
Jeffrey Luscombe was born in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. He holds a BA and MA in English from the University of Toronto. He attended The Humber College School for Writers where he was mentored by writers Nino Ricci and Lauren B. Davis. He has had fiction published in Chelsea Station, Tupperware Sandpiper, Zeugma Literary Journal, and filling Station Magazine. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the Prism International Fiction Prize. He was a contributor to the anthology Truth or Dare (Slash Books Inc. 2011). He lives in Toronto with his husband Sean. Shirts and Skins is his first novel.read more
Reviews for Shirts and Skins
A series of taut, well-crafted short stories focusing on Josh Moore, ranging from childhood to early middle age. The chapters really do stand alone as strong stories, but taken together they create an energy, revealing a man who seems to be completely different people at different stages. There's something Gatsby-ish about him, as he tries to create the person he wants to be, but remains a boat "against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." And that, I think, is why this goes slightly out-of-tune for me at the end. The story we're being told here is tragic, and wrestling a happy, gay ending out of it feels a bit awkward and forced. The last two stories--where Josh finally comes out and earns 2 ridiculously perfect hook-ups, and where he winds up as half of a dreamy power couple--aren't terrible, but they feel like the author is forcing the story in particular directions. But even with that weakness, the stories have a subtlety and power that marks Luscombe as a gifted writer, and there's a core of Josh's character (his chameleon ability to become like the people he's with, his keen insight into what motivates others) that believably drives him through the different stages of his life.read more
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