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We Are Infinite

With humor, empathy, and nuance, His Steadfast Love (Lethe Press) explores the meaning of love, loss, and acceptance for gay men in the U.K. Paul Brownsey ’69’s collection of short stories presents a deeply human portrait of gay life with a buoyant optimism and a playful spirit.

Here, love is found in an annual Christmas card, a white lie, a double bed. Love can arise in a chance meeting; it can fall at the hands of a dinner party invitation. Love, it appears, is in the little things.

Brownsey’s stories also remind us that throughout the history of the LGBTQ community, these fleeting glimpses of happiness have been punctuated all too often by loss. In them, we find ourselves waiting by a partner’s sickbed, joining the funeral procession of a sibling, huddling in a dark alleyway after witnessing a brutal attack, and numbed by seemingly small slights.

And yet, the wryly romantic Brownsey still lifts our spirits with surreal exuberance, whether it’s what can best be described as a Judy Garland fever dream, a glimpse into the mind of (gay) God, or even a chance encounter with the queen on the heathery moors.

Ultimately, the unpredictable sense of possibility that emerges from His Steadfast Love reflects the fullness of human life—something we can all appreciate, for no matter how we identify, we are infinite.

BRUCE EASOP is Swarthmore’s Presidential Fellow.