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Edge: Travels of an Appalachian Leather Bear

248 pages4 hours


The autobiographical essays in Edge offer insight into the passions of acclaimed author Jeff Mann. These memories, insightful as they are endearing, range from his boyhood obsession with the gothic allure of Dark Shadows, to the doubt and pain of being a Southerner and so at the edge of the gay community, and the appeal of leather bars and bear culture.

Mann also visits many gay meccas in several of these essays—the resorts of Key West, Provincetown, and Rehoboth Beach, along with several European destinations such as Germany, Ireland, Belgium, and Scotland, have important cameos. But he is never an idle traveler—he is challenged by his experiences, and his observations reveal the thoughts of many gay men. Along the way Mann ruminates on a variety of subjects, from lost lovers to kilts, theophany, Sylvia Plath, adult videos, and bathhouses.

"Jeff Mann's collection of essays reads as though he were already one of the most established and successful of authors, instead of someone first publishing a book of prose. He takes us on a series of personal journeys with style, panache, an academician's cohesion, and a poet's imagery and love of the written word. The result is a unique and valuable life-and-times autobiography cum travelogue that I simply gobbled up."--Felice Picano

"These are damned good essays, shot through with a self-effacing generosity of spirit and an expansive affection for places, persons, and ideas. All this would be enough, but what makes Mann's book a keeper is his clear-eyed (never cloying or vicious) yet tender (never sentimental) treatment of himself, the edges he's traveled, and the ones he embodies. Never once, in this collection of essays, does Mann take the edge off. Most enthusiastically recommended."--Rainbow Reviews

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