July 2, 2007
Contact: Andrew W. M. Beierle
In this stunning novel, Beierle brings to life characters at once unthinkably foreign and utterly real. Frank and fearless, sexy and witty, FIRST PERSON PLURAL is a masterfully rendered, powerfully imaginative work, as complex and as extraordinary as the bonds of love.
"This book will stagger you,"writes Lee Durkee, author of RIDES OF THE MIDWAY, "but better yet it will remind you of something too easily forgotten: that human existence is by its very nature heroic."
An extremely rare set of conjoined twins of the type dicephalus (literally "two-headed"), Owen and Porter Jamison are separate individuals from the neck up but share a single body. As children, they’re seen as a single entity— Owenandporter, or more often, Porterandowen. As they grow to adulthood, their differences become more pronounced: Porter is outgoing and charismatic while Owen is cerebral and artistic. When Porter becomes a high school jock hero, complete with cheerleader girlfriend, a greater distinction emerges, as Owen gradually comes to realize that he’s gay.
A reluctant romantic, Owen is content at first to settle for unrequited crushes. Porter’s unease with his brother’s sexuality leaves Owen feeling increasingly alienated from his twin, especially when Porter falls in love with Faith and Owen becomes the unwilling third side of a complicated love triangle. When Owen finally begins to explore his own desires, the rift grows deeper.
As Porter and Owen’s carefully balanced arrangement of give-and-take, sacrifice and selfishness, is irrevocably shattered, each twin is left fighting for his relationship—and his future—in a battle of wills where winning seems impossible and losing unthinkable.
"FIRST PERSON PLURAL reads like a memoir, as if it has been poured out of the heart of a man who has suffered first-hand the indignities and miracles described in this novel,"Durkee says. "How Mr. Beierle submerged himself so deeply I have no idea."
Paula Peterson, winner of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference Bakeless Prize for nonfiction for her memoir, PENITENT WITH ROSES, writes, "Andrew Beierle's imagination and empathy have no limits. In FIRST PERSON PLURAL he charts new emotional territory, bravely escorting us deep into the tangled relationships and complicated desires of his two unforgettable protagonists, whose tragedy is that they are [simultaneously] inseparable and profoundly divided. Welding great compassion to psychological acuity, Beierle forces us to confront the unthinkable."
Beierle wrote FIRST PERSON PLURAL over the course of five years, workshopping the material at the Sewanee, Bread Loaf, Napa Valley, and Kenyon Review writers conferences with the personal guidance of such literary luminaries as Alice McDermott, Randall Kenan, Claire Messud, and Christopher Tilghman, respectively.
For nearly three decades, he was an editor at Brown and Emory universities and is now an independent communications consultant to educational and nonprofit organizations. His debut novel, THE WINTER OF OUR DISCOTHEQUE, was honored by the Lambda Literary Foundation in 2002. His work has appeared in the Harrington Gay Men’s Literary Quarterly and in Rebel Yell: Stories by Contemporary Southern Gay Authors.
"What a remarkable book! The protagonist of Andrew Beierle’s new novel is one of the most unique and unforgettable characters in fiction. Deftly written, funny, wise, and poignant, First Person Plural is an excitingly original addition to contemporary literature."
—Jeff Mann, author of Loving Mountains, Loving Men; A History of Barbed Wire; Edge; On The Tongue; and Bones Washed With Wine
"Utterly original . . . tender, comic, bittersweet, and well-written, with lovable characters, heartbreak, and redemption—in other words, with all the right ingredients."
—Jan DeBlieu, author of Wind, winner of the 1998 John Burroughs medal for distinguished natural history writing, and Year of the Comets
"Deftly written and intricately imagined, in FIRST PERSON PLURAL Andrew Beierle has created twin brothers so original and compelling that this extraordinary novel is destined to leave a profound and indelible impression on its reader. An auspicious achievement by a remarkably talented author."
—Jameson Currier, author of Where the Rainbow Ends
"A metaphorical tale of differentness, an extended exploration of the complexities of identity—the possibilities, limitations and internal contradictions that exist in us all— FIRST PERSON PLURAL is striking and original, and that rarity in fiction, a novel of ideas.
—Katherine V. Forrest, twice winner of the Lambda Literary Award for best mystery and recipient of the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.
"In this story of two men born with different heads and different hearts but the same body, Andrew Beierle explores one of the most perplexing dilemmas we humans face: how much does a man owe to himself, as he searches for his own identity, and how much to those closest to him, in this case the other half of his own body? The fact that one of these joined twins is gay and the other straight leads, almost inevitably, to loneliness, confusion, and finally angry confrontation. Although we as readers may find ourselves wishing that each of these two men could have his own life—and his own love—we ultimately come to understand, as they do, that they cannot change what destiny has handed them. Their only choice is to find a way to live in harmony with each other. I salute both the courage and the insight that Beierle has brought to this engrossing and sensitively written story.
—Robert Taylor, author of A Few Hints and Clews, All We Have Is Now, Whose Eye Is on Which Sparrow?, Revelation and Other Stories, and The Innocent
"Andrew Beierle's imagination and empathy have no limits. In FIRST PERSON PLURAL he charts new emotional territory, bravely escorting us deep into the tangled relationships and complicated desires of his two unforgettable protagonists, whose tragedy is that they are both inseparable and profoundly divided. Welding great compassion to psychological acuity, Beierle forces us to confront the unthinkable."
—Paula Peterson, winner of the 2000 Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize for her memoir, Penitent With Roses; author of the short story collection Women of the Grove.
To place an order by phone, 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m., EST, Monday-Friday, 1-800-526-0275 (Closed at 12:25 p.m. EST on Fridays in June, July, and August; fax at 1-800-227-9604.)
To read the first chapter of First Person Plural and see additional advance reviews, visit the author’s web site: http://andrewbeierle.com
Contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org
For review copies, contact the author: email@example.com
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