Posts Tagged ‘gay’

ALA GLBTRT Review of No Going Back

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Every couple of days, I google “Jonathan Langford No Going Back” just to see what’s out there. It’s kind of a game to see if I can locate something that Google Alert hasn’t already told Chris Bigelow (my publisher) about. Usually I don’t find anything. But today there was a link to a review in the Spring 2010 GLBTRT Newsletter, a publication of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Round Table of the American Library Association. Here’s what it said:

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Mixed News

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The last week or so has been kind of bittersweet from my perspective. The Whitney Awards were announced, and while I was very pleased to have been a finalist, I was unsurprised to discover that I didn’t win the award in my category. (The person who did win the award, Jamie Ford, is a very fine author whose book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, is the one I thought probably would win, so I’m not complaining.)

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Going Back and Coming Out

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

A few days ago, I had occasion to talk to a long-time friend (non-LDS, gay, and a literature professor) about his reaction to No Going Back. What, he asked, was the significance of the title, in my opinion? Which led to possibly a longer answer than he had anticipated…

I suppose I should include a spoiler alert here. So, here goes. If you keep reading, you’ll find out about things that happen toward the end of the book. Selah.

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Writing Mormon Literature for a non-Mormon Audience

Friday, March 26th, 2010

It’s always interesting seeing what non-Mormon readers of No Going Back have to say about the book. For one thing, it includes an awful lot of Mormon detail. Since I never imagined that it might have a large non-Mormon audience, I didn’t go to any trouble to explain that detail. No real accommodations for any readers who don’t happen to be Mormon.

At a more basic level, I’ve wondered if non-Mormons would even be able to identify with the characters and their motivations. Sure, there’s a lot of universality to the basic conflicts in the book. Every teenager struggles with issues of identity and peer pressure. Every married couple struggles with issues of communication and priorities. But that doesn’t necessarily make the particulars of one person’s conflict easy to identify with on the part of readers whose lives are very different.

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Hometown Review

Friday, March 19th, 2010

A sad thing I’ve learned since No Going Back was published is just how few newspapers actually publish book reviews anymore. One reason I’m so spoiled in this regard is that my own hometown newspaper, the River Falls Journal (serving a city of about 15,000) has its own weekly book review column by Dave Wood—who also just happens to be the former book review editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and past vice president of the National Book Critics Circle. Our local library has a shelf specifically featuring books Dave has reviewed, many of which have a local or regional connection.

A few weeks ago, I gathered up my courage and gave Dave a call (you can tell it’s a small-town paper when they list the columnist’s home telephone number). He said to drop off a copy of No Going Back, dismissing my concerns that it might not be all that interesting for non-LDS readers. And this week, a positive review appeared in my local paper. (Sadly, the link to the online version that was working earlier today now takes one to a page where one must log in to see the review. Pout.)

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Interview Questions and Answers

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Here are some questions I recently answered for a journalist related to No Going Back and my experiences in writing it.

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Thoughts on Kushner, Angels in America

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Several years ago, prompted by a non-Mormon friend, I read Angels in America, a set of two plays set in New York City in the mid-1980s, written and performed in the early 1990s, that won multiple awards (including a Pulitzer). The play is largely about homosexuality, AIDS, and political conservatism. Several of the characters are Mormons, though Tony Kushner (the playwright) is not.

My reaction (which I initially posted on AML-List, and which was later published in more polished and expanded form in Irreantum, the journal of the Association for Mormon Letters) was that despite the Mormon characters and some Mormon iconic symbology, I didn’t really feel that the play was about Mormons or Mormonism in any meaningful way. At the time I wrote my reaction (2003), that was a perspective I didn’t see reflected or even much addressed in discussions of the work — bafflingly so, considering that 3 out of 9 main characters are supposedly Mormon.

So I wrote my response, which I’ve decided to repost below, in the hopes that perhaps this will prompt a little more discussion or at least awareness on this issue.

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Positive Review at A Motley Vision

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Earlier today, a positive review of No Going Back was posted at A Motley Vision: Mormon Arts and Culture blog. That’s one of the blogs where I hang out, so the positive response is particularly gratifying.

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NGB Article in BYU Daily Universe

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

On January 19, 2010, the Daily Universe, BYU’s student newspaper, ran a feature article on No Going Back that made the paper’s front page, sharing headlines with Haiti. They’d interviewed me the week before, and apparently also contacted Rex Goode, whose discussions on AML-List helped spark my initial ideas for the story, and Steve Walker, my old BYU English professor who read and endorsed the book in glowing terms.

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The Writing Rookie #11: Overcoming Fear

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

This column is cross-posted from A Motley Vision website. For the complete list of columns in this series, click here.

Fear is, I’ve come to realize, one of my great personal enemies as a creative writer (along with laziness). Part of this is probably just because of the kind of person I am. I suspect, though, that part of it may be endemic to the writing process.

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