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Song of the Loon [Unknown Binding]

Richard Amory
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B000W6MQ5E
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time? 27 Sep 2008
By Benjamin TOP 500 REVIEWER
Ephraim MacIver is escaping his one time lover, following the course a wise man has advised him - a course to discover himself - when he encounters an Indian Singing Heron. Singing Heron already knows Ephraim's name, and begins to instruct him in the ways of the Loon Society, and before sending him further on his journey of discovery they fall in love. As Ephraim's quest continues he meets more Indians as well as Cyrus, and he fall in love with them all.

As Ephraim learns more of the exclusively male Loon Society, and their ways of unselfish love, he tries to understand how he also can love more than one person. Yet at the same time he learns that he may also find a special partner from among all those who have fallen in love with him while on his quest. For this is what marks those of the Loon society out from others, they can share their love while still holding to one partner, they do not know jealously.

This is quite remarkable story, especially considering it was written over forty years ago. At its core is the thought of free love along with its unrestrained physical fulfilment, without jealousy. The story has the feel of fantasy about it as everything falls perfectly in place as Ephraim continues his journey, and with the meaningful dreams. The story is contains many explicit passages of love making; passages which manage to avoid being crude and put to shame much of what is written today.

The story does raise concerns though. The men all seem to be handsome and well equipped, and readily declare undying love within a few days or possibly hours of meeting and before they have had a chance to really know one another.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gay classic that is full of surprises 14 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I must have missed this title whilst growing up because I certainly did not know what to expect and I had not realised that it was written so long ago; that said I thoroughly enjoyed this unusual mix of novel and erotic story telling. A graphic recounting of encounters in the wild west with pioneers and natives throwing themselves into a world of sexual exploration with no cerebral limits. The men truly don't over-think their adventures but rather let their bodies enjoy each and every moment.

Some of the sub-plots are really very good,as is the development of the characters and this is a jolly good read. I have it on my Kindle and am sure that I will read it many times again. I love it and recommend it to you both in terms of capturing a moment in time (when it was written) and a particular genre with which I was not previously familiar.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gay literary classic is back in print (where it belongs). 31 May 2005
By Jesse Monteagudo - Published on
I hesitate to follow Dirk Vanden, who is himself one of our greatest gay erotic writers. But I fully share in his enthusiasm. When Richard Amory's "Song of the Loon" was first published in 1966, it single-handedly launched the Golden Age of Gay Pulps (1966-1972). Amory's gay erotic, pastoral novel was so popular in its time that it launched a trilogy, a literary spoof, and a soft-core porn film. More importantly, it tore down the walls of literary censorship and inspired other gay authors (like Vanden) to write honestly and positively about gay male sex. Arsenal Pulp Press and Little Sister's deserve our thanks for reissuing this clasisc and making it available to a whole new generation of gay readers.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reissue of a milestone in gay literature 14 Jun 2005
By klavierspiel - Published on
Richard Amory's legendary novel of a gay Arcadia in the Pacific Northwest captured the hearts and minds, as well as other body parts, of gay readers from its first publication in the 1960s. It is back in a deluxe edition with an extensive preface by Michael Bronski, providing historical and literary context, as well as reprints of interviews with the author that deal with such topics as his difficulties with publishers and his disgust at the liberties taken by the 1970 film version of the novel.

Is "Song of the Loon" worth all the fuss? Although I'd heard a lot about the novel over the years this was my first actual reading. In some ways Amory's work is not much different from a heterosexual romance novel. It is set in a nineteenth-century wilderness that never existed, with stalwart white heroes, and Indians (not Native Americans) who are models of the "noble savage." Everyone is handsome of face, muscular of body and enormous of endowment. The stately, grammatically elaborate fashion in which the characters speak (quite frequently they break into poetry, giving Amory's work an odd kinship with, of all people, Tolkien) further increases the distance from any reality. The frequent sexual encounters are similarly recounted in a strange mix of clinical realism and elaborate metaphor.

Thus, the cynical reader may be tempted to dismiss "Song of the Loon" as a dated period piece. However, this coming-of-age story about Ephraim MacIver, a man fleeing a cruel and manipulative lover, who meets sundry hunky, horny native men on a river journey before finding true love with Cyrus Wheelwright, a trapper, can still exert its unique spell if one accepts it for what it is: a portrait of an entirely closed, Utopian system, in which women, guilt, homophobia and sexually transmitted diseases do not exist (though an unfortunate, probably unconscious racism does--despite his numerous satisfying encounters with various Indians, it is impossible not to notice that MacIver in the end chooses a fellow white man as his partner) . In such a universe these unimpeachably masculine, perpetually cruising men can kiss, speak freely of love and recite poetry to each other, while gravely discussing issues of monogamy and fidelity. The few villains are men who are unwilling to admit their desires for other men, or whose desires are twisted by self-hatred. They are dispatched with ease, converted, not killed--what little violence there is in "Song of the Loon" takes place in hallucinatory visions, not reality. In a present-day America where violence against GLBT citizens and legislated homophobia seem to be on the ascendancy, Amory's vision of a peaceable gay world is extraordinarily moving. I started this book prepared to dismiss it, but ended up falling under the author's spell.

Incidentally, the end of "Loon" leaves Ephraim's and Cyrus' relationship in a somewhat ambiguous state: may readers expect reissues of the two sequels Amory wrote, I hope?
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gay Man's Bible - Should Never Go Out of Print! 11 July 2005
By Stuffed Animal - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have two copies of this book, one a tattered original Greenleaf edition, and the other this wonderful reprint. I've never read a book like "Song of The Loon." From the perspective of history, it's clear that Richard Love anticipated some of what later became major aspects of so-called gay culture - the Radical Faerie movement, the Bear movement, the reaction against monogamy. This book is highly political - inbetween the steamy hot (but always tender) sex scenes is a fairly explicit blueprint for how the author felt gay men should conduct their lives. What will strike most readers - and which certainly struck me - is the unbridled celebration of male-on-male love and desire. How refreshing! It's unashamed. There's no self-consciousness. There's nothing the least bit apologetic. And no trace of the word "queer" anywhere. Totally affirming. There should be a lesbian counterpart to this book. There should be a new film made of it, either for screen or television. There should be far more reviews of this reissue in the gay media. EVERY GAY MAN NEEDS TO READ "SONG OF THE LOON!!!!!!"
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GAY HISTORY CORNERSTONE 24 May 2005
By Richard D. Fullmer - Published on
SONG OF THE LOON Review by Dirk Vanden(Richard Fullmer)

This is the book that "started it all" as far as I'm concerned. It definitely started my own "career" such as it was. Before Song Of The Loon was published, almost all Gay books ended with suicide, or worse, the seduction and instant conversion to heterosex by the schoolmaster's wife, or the high school virgin cheerleader, "the love of a good woman." Being Gay was seen as a mental illness, a perversion, an affliction, a degradation, even as a scourge by an angry Jehovah/God, definitely illegal. Song of the Loon is filled with the delight of homosexual love, sex and comradeship! The poetry is uplifting, intoxicating! The book is truly a "Love Song" to homosexuality. The author's "real name" was Richard Love.

A Gay bartender at The Gauntlet, in Hollywood, in 1966, gave me the book to read, saying "It blew my mind! You've never read anything like it!" And, indeed, I hadn't! It inspired me enough to write 7 Gay novels of my own, published by the same people that Richard had to deal with.

Although the movie (which Richard called "A Looney Tune"in an article in Vector magazine) ended with the reported death of Ephriam before he returned for an expected reunion with Cyrus, this handsome republished book ends as was originally intended: Happily! No other Gay book I had read before it ended happily! Song of the Loon said emphatically "Yes! It's not only Ok to be Gay, it is Good! It is Great! Celebrate it!"

And there isn't an ounce of politics in the story itself! Michael Bronski's Introduction and my own disentombed article and subsequent interview with Richard, printed as Appendices in the new book, deal with the politics and culture surrounding the writing, publication, and subsequent struggles of all Gay authors, at that time. Richard Amory's words ring true today, maybe even truer - and that last paragraph of the interview, those last words in this, his "new" book, make my spine tingle, even as I write this. His sound advice to all of us!

Buy it. Read it. Read it again! Give it as gifts. Song of the Loon is a cornerstone of Gay History!

Dirk Vanden (Richard Fullmer) I Want It All, All or Nothing, All is Well, etc.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Brokeback Mountain 28 Mar 2006
By Kevin Killian - Published on
Even if the book wasn't attached, Michael Bronski's introduction would be reason enough to buy this edition of SONG OF THE LOON by the late "Richard Amory."

But this way you get the novel too, a groundbreaking, yet oddly ultra traditional novel--really a romance in Northrop Frye's terms--in which the white man and the Indian meet on a field of Eros rather than Thanatos. Yes folks, this is the real Brokeback Mountain in which buckskinned pioneers meet up with and pursue Indian braves on the banks of the "Umpqua" in a territory of long ago. Thinking about the storyline, you realize how ridiculous the plot is, for there aren't very many people on the frontier and every last one of them is a man and every last one of them is either openly or secretly a member of the Loon Brotherhood. Yes, it strains plausibility but Amory's power as a writer is such that while it is taking place you don't really quibble, Sybil.

He was a great poet as well, and the book gets a haunting resonance from Amory's descriptions of American nature, its flora and fauna, in the days before heavy industry moved in to shovel it into parking lots. The skies are an amazing blue, the rivers swift and clear. Over the great forests you can hear every animal's step in the fallen twigs, and the insects hum. "Darker green, the waters of the Umpqua fell in tiny crystals from the paddle--the waves from the canoe sighed in the shadows of white elders and lacy vine maples. A pair of jays screamed high in the treetops, then streaked far into the woods, crying hoarsely."

And because it is porn, it has men galore, all of them with heavily veined, vibrant, pulsating members under their loincloths. Ephraim is a white man on the run from a miserable relationship with Montgomery, a self-hating homosexual who could only have sex when he was drunk, who showed his naked form only to taunt the besotted Ephraim. Breaking free, Ephraim is on a long canoe ride into Indian territory where he meets one man after another, each more luscious than the last, and the members of the tribe teach him about polygamy and the joys of giving up your virginity in the scented wigwam rings. If it isn't Singing Heron, it's Bear Who Dreams--even an elderly medicine man, nice to see that old people have sex in the porn of the 1960s. And finally Ephraim meets his opposite number, the dreamy Cyrus, who is so big it takes three hands to hold all of him steady.

The book comes packaged with a dossier of contemporary reviews, interviews, photos and other invaluable documents, just as though we were reading some "classic" by Dreiser or Balzac or Cather.

It is a wonderful version of time travel and comes highly recommended by thousands and thousands of one-handed readers. What a way to kick off this promising series from Vancouver's estimable Arsenal Pulp Press in tandem with the venerable Little Sister's bookstore of BC.
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