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Wingmen – tekijä: Ensan Case
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Wingmen (vuoden 1979 painos)

– tekijä: Ensan Case (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
502393,928 (4.57)-
First published in 1979 by Avon books, this World War II novel, with overtones of From Here to Eternity, was a precursor to the gay romance genre. Jack Hardigan's Hellcat fighter squadron blew the Japanese Zekes out of the blazing Pacific skies. But a more subtle kind of hell was brewing in his feelings for rookie pilot Fred Trusteau. While a beautiful widow pursues Jack, and another pilot becomes suspicious of Jack and Fred's close friendship, the two heroes cut a fiery swath through the skies from Wake Island to Tarawa to Truk, there to keep a fateful rendezvous with love and death in the blood-clouded waters of the Pacific.… (lisätietoja)

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We join Fred Trusteau in 1943, a fighter pilot due to be assigned to an aircraft carrier, he does not know it at the time but he will be under Lieutenant Commander Jack Hardigan. His new skipper is more interested in flying than he is in all the desk work that goes with his position. Trusteau unlike his comrades is disinclined to join in the boisterous testosterone driven behaviour typical of naval pilots, but he is prepared to make the effort to prove himself one of them. He more than succeeds and wins both their trust and respect along with the nick name Trusty, just one of a few that confirms their regard form him. But it is not just his fellow ensigns he impresses, his skipper too is take with the young man, a feeling reciprocated as Fred not only admires his skipper but near worships him, something proved on more than one occasion by Fred's dedication and conscientiousness in serving his skipper. This is recognised by the skipper who assigns Fred as his wingman. The two men feel a natural affinity which develops over the duration of their time together. Fred recognises the implications of his feelings for his skipper, but Jack is initially perturbed by his feelings for Fred yet allows matters to follow their inevitable course and they do finally end up in each other's arms and more.

We follow the two men and the rest of their squadron through training flights and eventually into battle in the Pacific along with detailed accounts of their combined sorties. Inevitably there are losses but also acts of great bravery and self sacrifice. We also gain a good picture of the life of naval pilots serving during WWII. The account does not conclude with the end of the War, but takes up to 1969.

I found this a most compelling novel. The characters are engaging even with their faults, for they are all basically good men; and while I have dwelt on Fred and Jack there is so much more to discover in this novel. The growing friendship between Fred and Jack is carefully developed, and with the inevitable hiccups resulting from Jack's initial reticence on discovery of the nature of his feelings this is no quick romp into bed. In fact that side of matters once it does arrive is but briefly touched upon. Despite this thankfully relatively slow development of their relationship the story is free of contrived angst so what we have is a believable and at times very moving account of a beautiful relationship based on much more than a physical attraction. What a great loss it is that attitudes of the time resulted in no further novels from the author. ( )
  presto | Dec 21, 2016 |
If you consider the time this novel first was out, 1979, and the period it refers to, II World War, Wingmen is a daring novel since it “allows” to its heroes an happily for now ending, something that was seldom read at the time. Novels with gay themes had sometime made their appearance in the past, but most often than not, the heroes were not allowed to be able to enjoy their love. Even in most notorious novels like Gaywick, another release from Avon Books of the ‘70s, the happily ever after was not a 100% one, and not all the gay characters had it.

Having read “From Here to Eternity”, I can recognize the similar theme, but in that novel there was a subtle shame for being gay, and those characters who consciously admitted they were gays, were seen like weak and needing men, beginning sex in exchange of money. Love seemed not part of the equation, and that is the main difference in Wingmen; true, there is sex between Jack and Fred (even if, remember, this is the 1979 and set between 1940s and 1960s, so nothing is overtly on your face), but there is above all love. It’s a great love story, and both Jack than Fred are able to admit they are in love, that is not only basic physical desires attracting each other.

Wingmen is also a good was novel, with plenty of details on the war and war setting; it’s strange because I have always thought to Avon like a romance publisher, but that is probably the evolution they had from the ’70 on, starting to publish the notorious Savage Romance novels. Instead Wingmen is as much a “man” novel as it’s a romance, able to mix the two elements in a perfect combination.

And if someone is wondering on the real possibility of such story happening, I strongly suggest to read Coming Out Under Fire by Allan Berube (re-released in 2010 in a 20th Anniversary edition), many of the stories in that essay are a replica of what happened between Jack and Fred in the novel, and many like Jack and Fred came back from that war changed in many ways, and trying to reconnect with a world that was no more theirs. Some of them managed to be happy forever, some of them for a brief period, but at least they tried, at least they had the courage to fight for their love like they fought for their country.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1937692086/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
1 ääni elisa.rolle | Jun 3, 2012 |
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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First published in 1979 by Avon books, this World War II novel, with overtones of From Here to Eternity, was a precursor to the gay romance genre. Jack Hardigan's Hellcat fighter squadron blew the Japanese Zekes out of the blazing Pacific skies. But a more subtle kind of hell was brewing in his feelings for rookie pilot Fred Trusteau. While a beautiful widow pursues Jack, and another pilot becomes suspicious of Jack and Fred's close friendship, the two heroes cut a fiery swath through the skies from Wake Island to Tarawa to Truk, there to keep a fateful rendezvous with love and death in the blood-clouded waters of the Pacific.

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