Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another Beautiful Story from Alan Chin

Tuesdays are the days I set aside to showcase my work. Today, I would like to share an Amos Lassen review of my novel Match Maker.

Another Beautiful Story from Alan Chin

I have only recently become an Alan Chin fan, and I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to discover him. His new book, “Match Maker” is a wonderful read with dynamic characters and a fascinating plot line. This is exactly what I have learned to expect from Chin. I do not often sit down to read a book and finish it in the same sitting and but that is exactly what happened here. I also know little about the subject matter, tennis, but I learned a great deal and I feel so much more complete for having read this.

Chin has the ability to build a story that is so real that the reader feels he is a part of what is going on between the covers of the book. The descriptions are vivid, the writing is purely sublime and I felt let yelling “Bravo” when I finished it. Instead, I plan to read it again and this is not something I usually do because I simply do not have the time to do so but more importantly because there are not many books that merit a second reading. “Match Maker” does and I not only plan to do so but I have mapped out my evening so I can do so tonight.

Let’s have a look at the plot. Daniel Bottega was forced off the professional tennis tour because he was gay some four years before the story begins. It, of course, is not easy for him to have to compromise his love for the sport with teaching tennis at a second-rate country club, but Daniel uses his job as a way to hide from a world that considers him abnormal. Daniel is not alone. He has a partner, Jared Stoderling, who has been fighting a losing battle with his addiction to alcohol and this weakness came about because of his lover and himself not being able to play professional tennis. We see that sexuality has affected the lives of both men and affected them deeply.

Just as things were looking bad for both men, Daniel gets a chance to coach a tennis prodigy, Connor Linn, and to train him to win the Grand Slam. He convinces Jared to return to pro tennis as Connor’s doubles partner. The competition is, of course, fierce but more than that is the media attention that Jared and Daniel face. The pro tennis association is not happy and there is a good deal of fallout there but even worse is the hate from the public that not only threatens Daniel and Jared’s love, but Connor’s career and Daniel’s own life. Here I was reminded of Patricia Nell Warren’s “The Front Runner” and the story of Billy Sive, and I mean that as the highest compliment. Chin reminds us once again that no matter how secure we feel today as gay men in a heterosexual society, there are still many out there who hate us and want to see us done away with. We should never take lightly the security that we feel today.

Alan Chin gives us the beautiful relationship between Daniel and Jared and I actually felt the love coming off of the pages of the book. We are also given information about what goes on behind the scenes in the world of tennis and I found this to be particularly interesting since I know nothing about tennis. The book is a romance between two men who are just that—two men who love each other and want to be who they are in a world that does not want them to do so. This is something that should ring true to so many of us and it is interesting to read about it in such beautiful prose and between two such wonderfully drawn characters. This beautiful story is one that will haunt me, and which I will hold close for a very long time. I must thank Alan Chin for giving me the chance to read and enjoy it.

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