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Welsh Boys Too! (Parthian Shots) [Paperback]

John Sam Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 25 Nov 2000 --  

Book Description

25 Nov 2000 Parthian Shots
A collection of stories inspired by the lives of gay men in Wales. Funny, poignant and ultimately revealing.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Parthian Books (25 Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1902638115
  • ISBN-13: 978-1902638119
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,265,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Contemporary, yet timeless, these tales of young gay men living in rural Wales have a pathos and dignity that sustains this slim but vibrant collection. -- Sebastian Beaumont, Gay Times

Funny, poignant and ultimately revealing. -- The Western Mail

From the Author

I lived outside of Wales for more than ten years between 1981 and 1992, in sunny California for more than three years and then in not so sunny Liverpool. During the time I was away I changed a lot. Perhaps the biggest change was that I integrated my sexuality in a very positive way and escaped the burden of doubts and fears I’d had about being gay when I lived in Wales. So coming back to Wales to work in 1992 was a bit of a shock – for Wales hadn’t changed. Attitudes to gay men and lesbians were as negative as I remembered them to have been…. I got the title for this collection from one of my first encounters with a Public Health physician who, when asked what work was being done in North Wales with gay men around sexual health issues, said that there were no people like that in north Wales.

What I set out to do in writing these pieces was hold up a mirror…. Gay men’s lives are largely hidden from view in Welsh society and because of this hiddenness all sorts of myths and misconceptions are peddled about our lives – about my life. I wanted to show, through brief glimpses, the very ordinariness – but also the extraordinariness of the lives gay men lead today. I wanted to show the homophobia that pervades Welsh society – and I wanted to suggest some of the ways that individuals overcome such prejudice. I didn’t want to write about victims, but about men who are strong and who get on and make the best of their lives in hostile circumstances.

Two of the stories are about young men in their teens. Through a piece of work that I did in 1996/1997 with a group of gay and lesbian teenagers at the West Rhyl Young People’s Project I came to the very painful realisation that despite many gay characters in soaps (including the soap opera at Westminster) that seem to have played a role in fostering greater understanding and tolerance, life as a gay or lesbian teenager in rural north Wales was as awful as it was when I had been a gay teenager in rural north Wales at the beginning of the 1970s. The politics of Section 28 and the government’s unwillingness to define a sex education curriculum that is statutory leave gay and lesbian teenagers amongst the most vulnerable to sexual exploitation and leave teachers (even the most sympathetic) uncertain of what they can say to the gay or lesbian young person who seeks their counsel. Little is done to develop the self-esteem of gay and lesbian teenagers in school settings and little is done to address homophobic bullying in school settings.

I suppose I wanted this collection of stories to give insight, but also challenge us in Wales to think about what kind of life we would want for a gay son or a gay brother, a gay friend or a gay neighbour…. I hoped that the gay men reading these stories would see aspects of their own lives reflected back to them, and perhaps go some way to helping them articulate their own experience of being gay in Wales…. I hoped that the non-gay readers of this book would ask themselves how they might be (unwittingly) participating in the homophobia that is so pervasive, and how they might come out as gay friendly.

John Sam Jones
Summer 2001.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Gay men read gay literature because it is written about and for them. We identify with the themes. However, too often we have to transplant our imaginations to London, New York or California in the same way as gay men used to migrate from small-town mentality to seek societies in which they could express their sexuality. Now, in the 21st century, there is not the same pressure to escape to the anonymity of a gay ghetto in the nearest metropolis.
This collection is relevant to anybody who is gay and Welsh, and this would be particularly true to somebody who is coming to terms with his sexuality. These stories succeed as they are not based in the stereotypical locations used in gay literature and prove that an ordinary life can still be gay in Welsh suburbia.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unique Welsh dimension to gay fiction 8 Sep 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My heart leapt at the prospect of reading an anthology of gay fiction set in Wales, and I wasn't disappointed by this short, yet rich, volume. The settings range from the small-town mentality of coastal towns to the wild coastline of Ynys Enlli, giving a strong Welsh dimension to the characers and stories. I hope it won't be too long before the author issues a second volume.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful insight into gay Wales 12 Nov 2001
By A Customer
The book is a fantastic collection of short stories offering something for everyone when wanting to examine the complexities of growing up gay, in Wales. Not an easy task.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delightful 13 Jun 2004
I have never left a review before but I enjoyed this book so much I wanted to let others know! Being English and having lived in Wales I enjoyed the varying lifestyles and back drops for these short stories, often funny or thought provoking with twists these stories are compulsive reading. I have just ordered the next one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A different world 20 Aug 2001
By "blissengine" - Published on Amazon.com
With a subtle and graceful precision, Jones renders the lives of gay men and boys in Wales and of Welsh heritage. Through varying viewpoints, he explores notions of family, homophobia, coming out, and more in this excellent collection of short stories. Some of the stories tease and beg for more, and there are a few that are just not as compelling as others. All told, this is a remarkable book that will interest anyone curious about other cultures.
5.0 out of 5 stars John Sam Jones is my hero. 4 Sep 2013
By Robert Floyd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderfull collection of short stories that are thoughtfull and insightfull and very original, giving much insight into the homosexual world. A fine read.
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