The New Jersey Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.,has recommended Imagining Gay Paradise as one of five books to buy to kick off Pride Month.
It’s a bit of an odd review in that it suggests that one theme of the book is that oppressed gay men in Europe and the U.S. who sought out paradises in Southeast Asia were often tragically disappointed. But that was not true of Walter Spies, the major European character who helped transform the image of Bali into that of an aesthetic paradise, nor of the major American character, Darrell Berrigan, who thoroughly enjoyed Bangkok. Both of their lives did end tragically — Spies died due to an unjust Dutch detention and a Japanese bomb during World War II; Berrigan died at the hands of a gay hustler.
But does that mean the men were tragically disappointed in the paradises they had imagined in Southeast Asia and would have preferred to stay at home? I don’t think so. Both in fact successfully re-imagined the meaning of “home” in Southeast Asia.
Read the Star-Ledger review here.