Tuesday 5 September 2023

Book Review: In the Name of Desire by João Silvério Trevisan (LGTB Fiction)

Title: In the Name of Desire
Author: João Silvério Trevisan
Publisher: Sundial House
Publication Date: 17 October 2023
Pages: 228
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: LGBT Fiction
Source: ARC via Edelweiss

In the Name of Desire , first published in Portuguese in the 1980s, is one of the most important Brazilian gay novels. It traces the remembrances of a man who returns to the seminary where he studied as a child. This visit, thirty years after his sudden departure, evokes stirring memories of his time his first love, nascent homosexual desire, the metaphorical agony of Catholic rituals, and the physical harm inflicted by peers and priests alike. As he revisits the halls, his memory wanders throughout the seminary, creating a narrative both liturgical and profane.


In the Name of Desire was an LGBT work in a very different style than any I have read before. The story is present through a series of questions and answers, so it's really like a collection of reminiscences on what happened, rather than the story actually happening in real time as we read. At times I found this style engaging, but there were moments when it was awkward too. Because of this style of storytelling it was also hard to really establish a plot until about halfway through the book, and even then there was a lot of ambiguity left in place, so it's unclear when you finish reading exactly how things ended. Though I got the impression that was intentional on the author's part. It is probably also worth noting that there may be aspects of certain events in the book that some readers will struggle with, and the blurb hints at that to begin with, so keep it in mind if you are a reader who prefers such warnings. It was certainly and different and interesting read, but not one I'd ever rush to re-read. As such, I am giving it 3.5 stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

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