“I love to read books. I love to write books. So I decided to write a book about reading books,” says David G. Hallman about this collection of short stories, each of which revolves around the characters’ interaction with a piece of literature.
Combining fiction, creative non-fiction, and semifictionalized autobiography, Hallman has crafted tales that draw readers into his characters’ complex lives using the lens of books such as Paul Bowles’s The Sheltering Sky, John Le Carré’s The Constant Gardener, E. M. Forster’s Maurice, Patricia Nell Warren’s The Front Runner, Robertson Davies’s Fifth Business, and Hallman’s own memoir August Farewell. Some of the stories focus specifically on the literary work. In others, the role of the book in the plot is quite subtle.
The stories are emotionally engaging and intellectually stimulating with some being sexually explicit. Each one is a dramatic exploration of the joys and heartaches, the thrills and conflicts inherent in personal and social relationships. The connecting theme of the role of books illuminates linkages between art and life.
The short stories in Book Tales with their gay plots and themes depict the characters finding insight, courage, and inspiration through a variety of literary works.