novel by Michael Craft
Drawings by Kevin Hickey
Trade paperback published February 1993
Claire Gray is fifty and single, one of Broadway’s most respected directors. On a year’s retreat from her career, she returns to her alma mater as a visiting professor, determined to write a “significant” play. Enter George McBeth, a gay local actor ten years her junior, who dreams of making it big. Each seduces and openly uses the other as a means to private ends, setting the stage for rude awakenings. Laced with an abundance of wit, sensuality, and suspense, Rehearsing will have lasting appeal to thoughtful readers, gay or straight.
Rehearsing was my first novel, some twelve years in the making. Unlike my other books, it is not a mystery, but rather an introspective, somewhat “literary” little novel that chronicles a middle-aged woman’s growth from emotional confusion to mature enlightenment. The central character, Claire Gray, appeals to me greatly, so I brought her back in a minor role in the second Mark Manning mystery, Eye Contact. The text of Rehearsing is narrated by two characters—Claire and the younger gay actor, George. At an erotic level, this one has a little something for everyone.
“In Rehearsing, Craft confirms what we have always suspected about theater folk—even when they’re offstage they’re still busy playing roles, and trouble brews when two of them get different ideas of where the plot is heading. Their titanic manipulation of each other leaves egos foundering, lives ruined, and relationships wracked. All in all, it’s great fun.”
“Michael Craft has written a taut, introspective story about ambition and passion, death and enlightenment—told from a theatrical perspective that rings both true and droll. Rehearsing is a compelling first novel that heartily entertains its reader while broadening the scope of contemporary ‘gay literature.’”
“The strength of Rehearsing lies in its characterizations and in its depictions of two worlds, where the author is completely at home. At one point, Claire says, ‘Whether in affairs of the heart or of finance, we are traders. Expecting to take as well as to give, we are traders.’ It ultimately is this worldly philosophy that gives the novel its force.”
Rehearsing was honored by the Society of Midland Authors as a finalist for its 1994 Adult Fiction Award.
Click here to read an excerpt from Rehearsing.
Click here to read a related interview by William E. Robbins.
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