Joseph Geraci's novel is subtle and restrained as he develops the story of an American in Holland falling in love with an 11-year-old Sander. Geraci delicately describes the ambiguous nature of this relationship. First he is subtle in the two scenes involving sex. The reader is aware of what is happening, but intimate details are left out. The scenes are charged with erotocism yet underplayed as well. Secondly, Geraci uses the relationship of Will's friend Toon with the by Ashok as a kind of foil. Toon takes pictures of this boy and has sex with him and ends up in court. Toon's attitude is feisty, which does not help his court case. Many in the boy-love movement, however, would resonate with him.
This trial causes Will to consider his relationship with Sander. He has to make a choice bwteen going back to tenure at his uiniveristy job in San Franscisco or staying in Amsterdam and running a photo gallery foir Niek, Sander's father.
It sems that Sander's parents, Niek and Marijke, are aware of the relationship Sander has with Will. They, too, are ambiguous. Both need Sander and Will in their lives.
The setting of this novel in Holland makes these complications possib le because in many other places, Will would be prosecuted or scared off. Thus, Geraci uses his setting to put forth the variouos complexities and ambiguity of intergenerational relationships.
The very nature of these relationships is temporal. Boys grow up and out of their need for a man. Will has to make decisions that will affect his entire future. Should he risk that for a few years of off and on affection with a boy who will soon be twelve and then older?
Intergenerational issues have not been outwardly discussed in the U.S. either in research or in art. Some would consider even this restrained novel pornographic because of the sexual contact between Will and Sander. Somehow many in this country do not believe young people have a sexuality or if they do, that sexuality needs to be suppressed.
Fict! ion like Gerci's "Loving Sander" can help open doors. Even though Geraci is sympathetic to his boy-lover protagonist, he portrays this relationship as risky in many ways. Perhaps through art intergenerational relationships can be discussed and somehow objective research projects can be developed that might shed some light on them.