A Love Like Blood by Victor Yates
I can't say enough good things about this book. This is not your typical contemporary gay fiction. It's highly literary, and for that reason it should appeal to a much wider audience. In my opinion, this is an absolute must-read. Although Carsten's sexuality is important to the story, and even though that is what it is generally about, this is much more to do with family and expectations and who Carsten is becoming. Readers might not share Carsten's specific cultural heritage or sexual orientation, but how he navigates both of these and the choices he makes as a result of his upbringing are things most readers can relate to.
The visuals are absolutely stunning. It is not so much that the scenes are described in accurate detail but that they are given life through Carsten's eyes. We're seeing what he wants us to, what his camera has captured and the way he wants to present it to us. I loved how even he is surprised by what he discovers at the end, as though the picture he thought he had is now revealed to be something else.
Carsten's vicious father is thoroughly unlikable, however, he isn't necessarily the villain despite his ongoing abuse of his sons. We catch glimpses of how Carsten's friend Brett views the situation as an outsider, and it's tempting to agree with him. Carsten won't allow it, however, revealing the details as though he's developing the film for us. Readers should be forewarned that there are scenes of violence; I found them to be more intense than graphic, but because of the sensitive nature of family abuse cycles, some readers may find it more difficult to read those parts.
Ultimately, this is far more about family, about where we come from and where we are going, than anything else. It's rich and detailed and absolutely gorgeous. I cannot wait to read more from Victor Yates, especially if this is the quality of writing we can expect.