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7 Years Ago, My first Review…

It’s hard to believe, but seven years ago I received the first review for my debut novel, Songs for the New Depression, from Kirkus Reviews (“The World’s Toughest Book Critics”). I was floored:

“Edwards-Stout’s engaging debut introduces sassy, outspoken Gabe Travers, a sarcastically witted, near-40, Southern California guy whose homosexuality ‘has never been an issue’ and whose particular fondness for Paris, France, and Bette Midler has carried him through some of life’s more challenging episodes (the book’s title is from Midler’s 1976 song collection).

Told from Travers’ first-person perspective, the story moves in reverse, chronicling his death in the first pages before moving to his adult life struggling with HIV and on to his adventuresome youth. Edwards-Stout excels at characterization, cleverly arming his plucky protagonist with a contagious combination of wit and droll self-deprecation. Travers skillfully navigates each stage of his life, from a young, spirited gay man to a paranoid adult whose mortality hinges on the dormancy of a fatal virus, all the while keeping his pride and wry sense of humor remain beautifully intact.

Drawn from his experiences as an AIDS caregiver and the surviving partner of an AIDS victim, Edwards-Stout infuses reality and hopefulness into a bittersweet story about compassion and personal growth. A distinctively entertaining gay novel written with moxie and bolstered by pitch-perfect perspectives.”

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