An intriguing examination of love, lust, and passion…
Chester’s candid, coming-of-age collection of short stories narrates his own journey from a traumatic childhood event to a delayed sexual awakening as an adult as he tackles themes of sexual identity, shame, guilt, LGBTQ stigma, and self-discovery. As a little boy, Chester has always struggled with his mother’s disciplinarian nature. As he begins his adolescent years, he finds himself becoming attracted to other boys. Burdened with guilt and shame, Chester throws himself into his studies, striving to be a straight A student. With his mother’s failure to acknowledge any of his achievements, he longs to be free of the stifling home environment. A chance to live in Japan arises, providing Chester an opportunity to expand his wings and experiment with his sexuality. With intuition and insight, Chester portrays his plight as an adolescent growing up in a strict household in the stifled environment of the 1970s as he struggles with issues of self-worth, low self-esteem, conflicted feelings about his sexual identity, and his mother’s high expectations. “The First Summer” tells the story of the author’s first time in Japan and his meeting with Manabu, who eventually becomes his life partner. In “Mr. White Bathing Suit,” the author, weary of his mundane existence in a stale relationship (with Manabu, who is dedicated to his corporate job and has no time for Chester) is actively looking outside for physical satisfaction. “Winter Dies a Slow Death,” “Mr. Young Businessman,” and “Eddie” are sketched on similar lines, with the author finding passionate sexual partners in complete strangers. In “Nagoya Nights,” Chester comes across a kindred spirit in a working young guy. “Mr. China” is all about raw lust and passion whereas “Out of Town” delves into loneliness and pain as two people struggle with their partners’ emotional abandonment. The heartwarming “The Sunlight on His Face,” the last entry in the collection, ends on a positive note as Manabu leaves his corporate job behind to be with Chester. Chester’s portrayal of his own shame, guilt, and lust in the face of his growing awareness about his sexual identity is both candid and etched in reality. In depicting his own struggles, Chester adeptly examines the intricacies of human nature, love, lust, passion, infidelity, enduring relationships, and the vulnerabilities of the vast gay population, who remain broken amid their ongoing trials with identity, stigma, shame, understanding, and acceptance. Set against the vibrant background of glistening Japan and heartbreaking and funny at once, the book makes for an engrossing read.
Love-Starved: A sexual awakening
By D.H. Chester
Shining Hour Publishing
Pub date September 20, 2020