My Husband and My Wives: A Gay’s Man’s Odyssey is the memoir of a man looking back over eight tumultuous decades at the complications of discovering at puberty that he is attracted to other men.
The ordeal of remaining true to what his libido tells him is right, in the midst of a disapproving and sometimes hostile society, is one side of his story. Another is the impulsive decision he made as a young adult to marry a woman who fascinated him. This led him into entirely unanticipated territory. He found himself suddenly a husband, a widower, a groom for a second time, and, finally, the father of four children and grandfather of six, though throughout it all, he never abandoned his erotic involvement with men. Perhaps most extraordinary is the story’s happy conclusion: Charles Rowan Beye’s wedding four years ago to the man who has been his companion for the last twenty years.
The remarkable journey from pariah to patriarch is told with an eloquence, an honesty, and a sense of humor that are uniquely Beye’s own. A personal history that is also a history of evolving social mores, this wonderfully original, challenging, life- and love-affirming account could only have been written by the unconventional man who lived through it all.
About Charles Rowan Beye
Charles Rowan Beye is a retired professor of Ancient Greek. Competing sexual and emotional attractions have shaped the drama of his life. Openly gay in his teens, twice married to women, father of four, he is now married to his male partner of the last twenty years.
Now in his 80s, Beye (Odysseus: A Life, 2004, etc.) is a retired scholar and professor of ancient Greek. This self-described “odyssey” tracks his life by way of his sexuality, resulting in a meditation on the author’s gay identity and his three marriages. Openly homosexual in his teens, Beye describes his early, casual sexual encounters with boys and falling in love for the first time at 17. Subsequently, as an adult who had never slept with a woman, he was introduced to his future wife, Mary, as “the biggest fag in Iowa City.” Three months later, he proposed, and she accepted. Beye doesn’t offer much explanation for this marriage; he claims not to know if he loved her but admits to never having known anyone like Mary. Following her unexpected, sudden death a few years later, he remarried, to a different woman, Penny, with whom he reluctantly had four children. Beye describes their 20-year union as “the deepest, most complicated relationship” of his life. The couple drank heavily and suffered from depression, and neither Penny nor the author remained faithful. Following multiple affairs and their divorce, he fell in love with Richard, who was his partner for 15 years before their 2008 marriage. Some of Beye’s sadder confessions are difficult to stomach, but his unrelenting honesty and sharp intelligence makes for a companionable, if slightly mystifying, memoir. – Kirkus Reviews
A Lifetime Of Love In ‘My Husband And My Wives’
NPR Book Review – September 25, 2012 (Excerpt)
Given the glut of autobiographies, a provocative subject alone isn’t enough to snag a reader’s attention, although, admittedly, the title of Charles Rowan Beye’s new memoir,My Husband and My Wives, is certainly arresting. It’s Beye’s charming raconteur’s voice, however, and his refusal to bend anecdotes into the expected “lessons” that really make this memoir such a knockout.
Beye won me over in his “Introduction” when he admitted that, looking back at the long span of his life — he’s now over 80 — the big question he still asks himself is, “What was that all about?”
“That” is a saga that begins in 1930 in Iowa, where Beye was born into a Midwestern WASP family. He and his five siblings were schooled in the upper-class art of making conversation — or, as he deems it, “hid[ing] behind brilliance.” Awkward realities were politely ignored. Beye tells a nightmareDownton Abbey-type tale about sitting down to breakfast as a child, when the family’s “aged-serving woman was suddenly struck with a seizure of some sort while passing toast on a silver salver.” Rather than leaping to this poor retainer’s aid, the children took their cue from their mother, who held them all in her gaze and kept making “insistent[ly] pleasant conversation” until the poor woman staggered back to the kitchen, out of sight. [Read the full article...]
The Vertical Land – Book Two of the Richard Finch Series
A Gay Erotic Thriller by Max Markham
1982, London: James Graveney (now a Lieutenant-Colonel) and Richard Finch (now promoted to Captain), the heroes of Book One of the Richard Finch Series, The Indigo Bird, have both had a “good war” in the Falklands, serving respectively with the Fusiliers and the Special Air Service (SAS). So has James’s dynamic wife, Tori, a researcher, who was also caught up in the war. Now they all have to come back to earth with a bump. James is a Lieutenant-Colonel without a command; Richard’s attachment to the SAS has come to an end.
Fate comes to their rescue. James is unexpectedly posted to Nairobi as Military Attaché to the amiable British High Commissioner, Sir Tom Sheridan. A bloody coup in August 1982 ensures that no-one but Richard wants the job of James’s Assistant Military Attaché. James may be married and outwardly respectable; Richard may be professionally ambitious, but it is not long before the two friends are caught up in a series of adventures – amorous, erotic and positively dangerous – in Kenya and Sudan.
Once more Max Markham provides a rollercoaster of shocks and surprises against backdrops ranging from sophisticated London to raffish Nairobi, to mercilessly beautiful and dangerous remote, up-country Africa.
The Vertical Land is available at Amazon.Com incl. the US Kindle version, Amazon.co.uk incl. the UK Kindle version, Barnes & Noble, and any other good bookstore.