Author: Kathleen Winter
Publication Date: September 2014
Synopsis on Goodreads:
Meet Xavier Boland, the untouchable cross-dresser, who walks loose and carefree as an old Broadway tune. Meet Miss Penrice, a lost old woman forced by wartime to parent a child for the first time. Meet a Zamboni mechanic turned funeral porteur, Madame Poirer’s lapdog (and its chastity belt), a congregation of hard-singing, sex-obsessed Pentecostals, and more. With The Freedom in American Songs, Kathleen Winter brings her unusual sensuality, lyrically rendered settings, and subversive humour to bear on a new story collection about modern loneliness, small-town gay teens, catastrophic love, and the holiness of ordinary life.
Although I enjoyed many of the stories in this collection, my absolutely favourite story was the one entitled “The Freedom in the American Songs.” This story is the exploration of sexuality at young man’s coming of age. I was swept away in the story of a boy unsure of whether or not he’s gay, but he’s fairly certain that he’s in love with that boy, Xavier Boland who dresses secretly in girl’s clothing. He doesn’t quite fit in at home, but at Xavier’s house, he’s like family. The other stories are beautiful and succinct. Mentally they brought me images of the East coast, of cottages and rustling fields. They’re welcoming and soft. Reading this book has encouraged me to read more of Kathleen Winter. I’ve borrowed a copy of Annabel from a friend and I can’t wait to open those pages!