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Longhorns Paperback – Jul 11 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Gay pulp veteran Banis's pseudonymous soft core novels of the '60s are hailed as "foundational" to gay literature in Michael Bronski's fulsome introduction to this new novel, Banis's "re-emergence." Bronski goes on to call this Western a "response" to Brokeback Mountain, and a "queer meditation" on the cowboy as American icon. Forty-year-old Les, the trail boss of the Double H Ranch, works for its beloved chatelaine, the elderly widow Miz Cameron, "a little dumpling of a woman, dressed in black." Les rides herd over a crew of rowdy cowboys, roping steer and sleeping around prairie campfires. Young drifter Buck, part Nasoni Indian, catches up to them on a roundup. After proving himself an expert sharpshooter, rider and roper, Buck celebrates his initiation to the group by luring one of their number, Red, into his bedroll. But Buck is really after Les, sandy-haired and significantly endowed. Banis provides a well-researched, detailed panorama of wrangling steer and the narrowing of the American Southwest, but his characters fail to convince and his sex scenes are pallid. Buck unleashes a stream of single-entendre wherever he goes (it feels good to be "rode hard"), and after the first 10 pages, it becomes tiresome.
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"Skillfully infuses an erotically charged story with the loveliness of passing breezes, fields of bluebonnets, and mockingbird song." -- Anthony BidulkaSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
In "Longhorns" Banis takes us back to post Civil War Texas where 40-year-old Les is the trail boss of the Double H Ranch and the young, new hand, Buck, decides to set his cap for the older man. From the moment Buck rides onto the scene, he has a seemingly endless stock of double-entendre comments about being hard ridden or riding in his saddle or, on and on and on. Buck is painted as an extremely competent vaquero with unsurpassed skills in roping, riding, knife throwing, seduction of women, and you name it but I wasn't convinced that the kind of comments he made all day long would go down all that well in a context where men were men and sodomites were beaten up, hanged or shot. Not so in this story, however. Everyone on the Double H is tolerant and it is left to a trio of redneck brothers from a neighbouring farm to play the prejudice card.
Buck has success in attracting Red, Les's second in command, into his bed but Les, his ultimate target, remains aloof. Eventually, we are supposed to believe that Buck's constant suggestive comments have worn down his boss's resistance so that when, finally, they have their first sexual encounter in a buckboard on the way home from town, Les seems strangely unmoved, at least externally, by his experience of fellatio. Of course, this leads to more and it doesn't take many more pages before the two of them are setting up a partnership. Good luck, I'd say.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
After years of a self-imposed exile from publishing, Victor has been coaxed back to his desk and the result is a wonderful, powerful tale of the Wild West where love is as hot as the weather, as deadly as a snake bite and as wily as the winds that blow across the terrain. Cowboys are an unusual breed: rough, tough,and rowdy but under the right circumstances can be smooth, sensual and loving; especially if they have gone long enough without sex and are horny enough to go looking for love.
Les,the boss of the Double H Ranch,is out on the range, herding cattle with his men when into their midsts rides one young cowboy, Buck, part Indian, part American, who quickly upsets all the notions and beliefs Les has about what a cowboy should be and how one should act, both in the saddle and out.
The western landscape is set ablaze with the heat that Banis pours into his new novel, showing that he is still a true connoisseur of the written word. You simply cannot wait to turn page after page to see what happens to Les, Buck and a couple other ranch hands as they learn lessons about life and love they never thought possible.
With the publication of Longhorns, and the multiple re-issues of his older works, it is a happy day for readers both gay and straight, as Victor Banis returns to the spotlight for a "return engagement". This grand old man of letters is at his best and we, his readers, are only too happy to say, "Welcome Back!"
The story is well paced, presenting a read that is neither too fluffy nor too heavy - so it is unlikely you will read it in one sitting, but equally as unlikely that you will need to tackle it one chapter at a time to digest.
The two main characters are Buck, a Native American outsider, and Les, a white redhead who is the chief of the Double H cowboy gang. Buck is unabashedly interested in intimate relations with men, but at the same time a very tough cowboy intent on earning Les' affections.
The feel of the book is that of a western, replete with the real and deadly dangers of a longhorn stampede, the solemnity of death, the reality of cowboys drifting without a biological family, and friction between cowboys and farmers (who are slowly fencing in the open range.) Issues of honor, integrity, and hard work are an integral part of the plot. Issues surrounding the relations between whites and Native American Indians are not ignored.
The story definitely has tense confrontations and fun romantic scenes that move the plot of the story along. Also the argumentative dialogue between Buck and Les becomes quite entertaining as the storyline progresses and the characters are further developed by the author.
Comparisons between this work and Brokeback Mountain are almost guaranteed to come up since both deal with gay cowboys. The stories are different in so many ways they almost defy comparison. Check out Longhorns yourself and see why - I'm sure you will not be disappointed.
First off for readers that like fidelity in their main characters after they meet, this book doesn't have that. Buck, the handsome drifter from the blurb, is sort of a man-whore and sleeps with another cowboy before he gets with Les, the "straight" ranch boss. As a fantasy, the book works if you like stereotypical cowboys on the range having hot sex with one another. Also, if you like your cowboy historicals with a little realism, Longhorns will not be the book for you. Regrettably, too many late twentieth century euphemisms made it into the final cut and that threw this history teacher totally out of the plot.
However, as a fun, light, sexy read that has some interesting characters, Longhorns did hold my interest throughout. I especially loved Red, Les' best friend and found the other Double H Ranch cowboys matchmaking abilities with Buck and Les to be delightful.
So, overall not my favorite cowboy romance, but an interesting tale from a talented author.
Dark Divas Reviews
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