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ABIDE WITH ME.

Anyone interested in the complexities of characters dealing with relationships and reconciliation has to pick up a copy of E. Lynn Harris's Abide With Me. It's the perfect cap for the trilogy that began with Invisible Life and continued with Just as I Am. Compulsively readable, Harris's last installment is sure to be a best-seller as well.

Those readers familiar with Harris's earlier novels will be relieved to know that his perennial characters and some new ones come to terms this time with their pathologies--in the face of family tragedy, in the school of hard knocks, in therapy, and even by ghostly visitation.

Raymond Tyler Jr. (the ambitious African-American gay lawyer), Basil Henderson (the incredibly sexy, egocentric, and tragically fragile bisexual ex-pro football player), Trent Walters (Raymond's life partner), Nicole Springer (Raymond's last heterosexual love, now married to his best friend, Jared Stovall), and even Raymond's parents are all connected like strands on a spider's web. Life affects the web of characters, and everyone feels the reverberations.

Raymond, who's been nominated for a federal judgeship, has accepted himself as a homosexual man, though he still has moments when he wishes he were heterosexual. He has been in a committed relationship with Trent for five years. Now, however, he learns that Trent has been unfaithful. From that point on the reader watches Raymond's seemingly perfect life unravel. He is being investigated by the FBI for the judgeship, his father is applying pressure on him to make his life more clandestine and closeted, and he is still haunted by his memories of Basil Henderson.

While the story centers on Raymond, one doesn't get the impression that Harris's intent is to garner support for Raymond only. Instead, Harris has, in this and other works, humanized the larger gay and bisexual experience by giving it a personal identity. Through his previous works, Harris has woven a truly complex and realistic fabric within which his characters come to self-actualization through forgiveness and the enduring human spirit. Abide With Me ties up any loose ends in his tapestry.

Blair is the author of The End of Innocence: A Journey Into the Life.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Blair, Alaric Wendell
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 13, 1999
Words:356
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