In Pursuit of Happiness: Gay Intimacy and Relationships in Peter Rehberg’s “American” novels Play, Fag Love, and Boy Men

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Abstract

Peter Rehberg's novels Play (2002), Fag Love (2005), and Boy Men (2011) map out the fictional relationship history of a gay man from his late twenties to his fortieth birthday. There is no single main character, but the main characters at different points in their biographies follow each other chronologically and conceptually. Reading the books as a set also allows us to trace Rehberg's sustained engagement with US‐American gay culture from the 1990s onwards. This article combines close readings of the three novels with an exploration of the tension between the concept of Queer Time and patterns of gay men's lives approaching middle age. In Rehberg's fictional world gay characters approach their middle years in ways which differ significantly from straight men's life trajectories. His novels challenge heteronormative as well as emerging homonormative expectations towards aging, but they do not conceal the psychological burden of Queer Time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-534
Number of pages16
JournalThe German Quarterly
Volume93
Issue number4
Early online date23 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Peter Rehberg
  • gay masculinity
  • US‐American gay culture
  • queer time
  • aging
  • US-American gay culture

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