Reviews

AS FAR AS I CAN TELL: FINDING MY FATHER IN WORLD WAR II

“Philip Gambone weaves a moving memoir of his family, a vivid portrayal of his travels through the locales of WWII, and a powerful description of what that war was like to the men who fought it on the ground into a seamless and eloquent narrative.” 

— Hon. Barney Frank


“In retracing his father’s World War II army service across the U.S. and Europe, Phil Gambone ingeniously uses public records to plumb private mysteries: Who was this “impossibly foreign” man, and what did he have in common with his son, who dodged the Vietnam draft by being gay? This is a travel book unlike any other: across continents but also into the past and toward self-forgiveness. Richly researched and written with unerring grace, Gambone’s journey is an act of witness, of belated connection, and, ultimately, of courage that does justice to his father’s.”

— Michael Lowenthal


“A single question pulses through As Far As I Can Tell: why didn’t my father talk about his time in the war? With meticulous research, Philip Gambone puts sound to silence, offering us a book-length love letter, not just to his father, but to anyone whose life has been hemmed in by obligation, obedience, and the brutality of the system. It’s also a coming to terms with the unknown in others, which is its own hard grace. A vital, dynamic read.”

— Paul Lisicky

“As Far As I Can Tell is a fascinating mix of autobiography, travelogue, and historical research that not only takes us on a great adventure in search of what World War Two was like for those who fought in the European theater but probes that most difficult of all subjects, the relationship between a father and a son—in this case, a gay son. Extensively researched, highly literate and profoundly thoughtful, the story Gambone tells uses not only soldiers' memoirs but writers as disparate as Samuel Johnson and James Lord to make this a reader's delight.”

—Andrew Holleran


“Gorgeous prose.  It is difficult to explore what we do not know, especially in our own families and Gambone dares to do that and succeeds wonderfully. Gambone gives us a great deal to think about.”

—Amos Lassen Reviews


“A terrific read. The prose is direct and clear, and his occasionally poetic and philosophical points are made accessibly, without pretension.  It’s a gift to have him in our midst, and to immerse oneself in the bounty of his familial exploration. His father might seem to be a shy, ordinary man on the surface, but Gambone shows his story to be truly heroic, with all the limitations a given. It’s a genuinely American epic, one we all can be proud of.”

—Howard Karren, Provincetown Advocate

“The book goes beyond just family history.  It also explores what the men and women of [his father’s] generation—both the ones who went to war and the ones who stayed home—went through, physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.”

—Gail Lowe, Wakefield Daily Item

“For someone who was never in the military, Gambone knows his military history. His synthesis of a broad range of primary source materials--biographies, letters, oral histories, newspaper articles, war novels, and his own field observations--is enhanced by his personal reflections on war, family life, European civilization, and sexuality.”

—James Farley, The Gay and Lesbian Review

 

THE LANGUAGE WE USE UP HERE

“The people, the moments, the worlds created in the stories unflaggingly seem real. Such is the confidence they inspire the turning the page or looking up from the book seem equivalent acts, as if it will be one’s own life going on in either direction. Again and again Phil Gambone‘s characters learn, and his readers too, that ‘this is how miracles happen: not in grand events but in lonely, unassuming, even embarrassing ways.’”

—Gary Glickman 


“Philip Gambone‘s stories belong to that delightful genre, domestic gay fiction—the private adversities of male couples. A subtle and touching guide to the little moments that nourish or kill, a complex record of the universal human heart in conflict with itself.”

—Richard Hall 

                        

“These wonderful stories are lively, real, and filled with gentle shocks of recognition. Philip Gambone  writes with rigorous sympathy about gay men in the thick of everyday life, with lovers, jobs in family ties, who remain sane and responsible inside wildly mixed emotions: in short, grown-ups”

—Christopher Bram


“These seamless stories about the fear if intimacy offer sly wit and emotional surprises.”

—Lev Raphael


“Philip Gambone he has done something extraordinary—he has written with honesty, humor, and compassion about the lives of ordinary gay men. His characters speak to us invoices that are almost hypnotically real. They charm us with their words only to catch us with startling revelations of truth.”

—George Stambolian


Philip Gambone’s debut collection “gives more space to the diversity inherent in the gay community.”

—Matteo B. Bianchi

 

SOMETHING INSIDE: CONVERSATIONS WITH GAY FICTION WRITERS

“A compelling portrait gallery of many influential figures. Gambone's knowledge of each writer's work and his sensitivity to the craft is impressive. While consciously eschewing ‘literary gossip,’ his carefully probing interviews provide insight into the working methods and aesthetic, personal and social concerns of a varied group.   The book amounts to a broad overview of the ‘breathlessly rapid’ development of gay fiction and its themes, from early coming-out novels to more complex visions of a world in which gay people are no unhappier than other people. Here's hoping that Gambone is at work on volume two.”

—Publisher’s Weekly


“A virtual who's who of late 20th-century gay literati.  Gambone clearly did his homework going into the interviews, and his subjects' responses are thoughtful and articulate.” 

—Library Journal


“These pieces would do credit to the Paris Review or any other literary publication.  The brightest light is always turned on the writer, not his interlocutor.  Something Inside will delight readers of all sexual and literary stamps.  In it, we meet an interviewer of rare charm and intelligence, one who asks the questions we ourselves would like to ask if only we were clever and attentive enough to do so.”

—Reed Woodhouse

 

BEIJING

“This debut novel is thoughtful and complex and often exquisite. It told me a great, great deal about fascinating people and places and, most important, human emotion. Beijing moves seamlessly between the funny and the utterly heartbreaking.”

—Scott Heim


Beijing will entertain and amuse many readers, even people who aren’t gay or who don’t often read about travel. Reading this book felt to me like being told a story by a friend.”

—Gillian Kendall


“Like all the best travel riders, Philip Gambone transports readers a great distance so that they might see inside their own hearts. I learned so much from his novel: about risk and wisdom (and how they’re often the same), about living on the tight rope of every new moment, and about Beijing, which in Gambone’s sure hands is both a seductively vivid city and and an ennobling state of mind.”        

—Michael Lowenthal

 

TRAVELS IN A GAY NATION: PORTRAITS OF LGBTQ AMERICANS

“Gambone is a smart interviewer with a laid-back, engaging style, and he knows how to bring out the most interesting qualities of his subjects.  He clearly admires them all and makes us admire them, too.”

—David Gibbs, Library Journal


“From the political right to left to radical, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhist, Jews and Protestants, 19-year-olds to 84-year-olds, national celebrities to individuals who are well-known in smaller communities, Gambone makes room for many.”

— Kate Vander Wiede, South End News


“Gambone under took a national journey into the stories of gays and lesbians who have contributed to every facet of life, interviewing famed garden designers, musicians and composers, writers, scholars, and even a familiar face from an iconic sci-fi TV series. The list brings new meaning to the phrase ‘embarrassment of riches.’  Gambone seeks his book to get inside the personal experiences of these courageous, talented, and often brilliant men and women.”

—Lilian Melloy, Edge Entertainment


“Like watching a really good, really gay Barbara Walters Most Fascinating People special. Gambone delivers his subjects’ backstories, where they are now, a sense of what makes them tick, and sometimes, just like Walters, he gets tears.”

—Dennis Hensley, The Advocate 


“His thoughtfully crafted questions, deep and respectful listening, and masterful storytelling skills highlight what gay America has in common with straight America, and what it is that makes the LGBTQ community decidedly different.”

—ForeWord


“This collection of interviews with gay activists and artists is like going to dinner with people you’d love to know but don’t, and Phil Gambone is the perfect stand-in for the reader: impressively prepared, sympathetic, and smart. Upbeat, but always intelligent and at times quite moving, this is a touching portrait of gay Americans across a wide spectrum of age, profession, and geography. 

—Andrew Holleran


“By asking good questions and really listening, Philip Gambone opens an illuminating window into the minds, hearts, and guts of a fabulous array of extraordinary Americans. At this critical time in America’s decades-long movement toward LGBTQ equality, you really shouldn’t miss this view.”

—Will Fellows