Saturday, January 16, 2016

THE FANCY DANCER, by Patricia Nell Warren

««««« THE FANCY DANCER, by Patricia Nell Warren. It's curious that it's taken me so many years to get around to reading THE FANCY DANCER by Patricia Nell Warren. It's set in a small town in Montana and concerns a young gay Catholic priest attempting to come to terms with himself after he falls hard for a troubled local half-Native American man of his own age. The setting, in the rural landscape of the Rocky Mountains, resonates with me since I grew up in Laramie, Wyoming. The book had a powerful impact on me even now, at age 48, though I've known I was gay since I was 11 years old. Despite the fact THE FANCY DANCER was published in the US Bicentennial Year of 1976, it's striking how relevant it remains to this day, especially with respect to America's debates on morality, so-called "family values," and the persistent stubborn opposition by the Catholic church to evolving societal views on homosexuality and especially same-sex marriage. So let's raise a toast to Patricia Nell Warren in this 40th anniversary year of THE FANCY DANCER ... a novel that anyone who's gay or sympathetic ought to read for its insight and its generous spirit. I truly loved it.