- In the City by the Lake by Taylor Saracen
In the City by the Lake by Taylor SaracenHot
Calvin—along with throngs of idealists who pack the pansy parlors—believes they stand on the precipice of a revolution, but Viktor is not convinced. A skeptic by both nature and lack of nurture, Viktor questions the conservative culture’s capacity for true change while hoping that broad acceptance is imminent. Perhaps then he could accept the parts of himself he hides.
While the repeal of Prohibition leads to financial issues for Viktor, a Depression-era disapproval of the liberal lifestyles of the 1920s initiates a slew of deeper problems. Sensationalized news stories regarding a rash of sex crimes paint homosexuals as depraved monsters and precipitate numerous laws against the queer community. The government’s intent is not only to eradicate pansy parlors—but homosexuality entirely. When an unexpected arrest forces Viktor to arrive at a decision he feels unprepared to make, he struggles with the ramifications.
IN THE CITY BY THE LAKE is a work of historical fiction focused on the emotional journey of a twenty-one-year-old closeted mobster living in Chicago during the LGBT emergence of the late 1920s to early 1930s, a period deemed the “Pansy Craze.”
In the City by the Lake is a beautiful, stunning, heart-breaking novel about finding yourself, finding love, and surviving the tragedy and hardships that life throw at you. All in the hopes that you come out the other side in tact, a little better off and a little happier than you were before. In a story that spans nearly ten years of a single person's life, we see how friendships, loves, and family can affect the choices we make. Through Vik, we see how a child's experiences can shape the man he will eventually become. Cal shows us the optimism and the joy that can be found in even the darkest places. And Rosie is the heartbreaking truth of what a cruel world can do to a delicate soul. In the end, the only family that counts is the one we embrace and the one we choose to matter.
I was immediately drawn in by the author's writing style, which was a perfect blend of storytelling and biography. It gave us hints and clues to Vik's life; each chapter a slice of his life like a million puzzle pieces that all have to be fitted together. I was instantly sucked into Vik's life, resonating with his hermit lifestyle and his wish to keep his head down unless something came along that demanded his attention. The growth of his character was beautiful to watch, as with each page and each chapter, with each year that passed, he became someone new, someone better.
“Perhaps that's why America and her dreams never appealed to me: I was more accustomed to nightmares.”
“Becoming a scholar in Cal had made me a student in myself.”