When you go into a story knowing the subject matter is considered taboo and/or transgressive—centering on an incestuous relationship between father and son—you certainly don’t expect to be caught up in a beautifully realized tale of sensual exploration that is both enlightening, charming, and even… sweet.
It is also rare to discover a story where the co-authors are so in tune with each other’s narrative voice that there are no jarring discontinuities in how they approach each character nor how they anchor the emotional journey father and son follow during their yearly encounters at the family retreat.
The narrative is laid out with respect for each man’s choices. It is non-judgmental, yet the characters are ever aware their actions could have possible dire consequences. Their love is non-traditional and grows not so much from the fallibility of pure lust but rather from a lifetime of emotional connection that transcends social and personal boundaries.
Laid out, journal-form, during several consecutive years, we are given a glimpse into the hero-worship of Marty as a child and the overly protective love of a father who has faced a near miss when his son suffered a life-threatening choking incident. From there, through puberty and the gradual sexual awakening of the teen, their exploration of the boundaries of the father-son relationship is rendered with exquisite care and, once more, the only word that comes to mind is… respect.
It’s not until Marty comes of age that his father, Martin, takes the first tentative steps to fulfill his son’s desires for intimacy, even amidst the awareness that once that line is crossed nothing will ever be the same. Yet somehow, what could have become tawdry, ugly and destructive retains what Marty calls their “bubble”—private moments of intimacy and shared love that need not bleed into their public lives or their other relationships.
In some ways, none of this would have worked had each man not been content to compartmentalize their emotional connections in such a way as to avoid complications and possible exposure to social censure. Nor would it have worked if they hadn’t been open and honest with each other during each step of their unique journey.
The writing is intelligent, the meshing of narrative voice nearly seamless, and the approach to what is considered a taboo topic compassionate and tolerant. The characters earn your sympathy and understanding. The brilliant storytelling broadens our understanding that love can take many forms, leaving open possibilities in a broad spectrum of how emotional connection can be expressed between consenting adults.
This story touched me. Quillon’s Covert is a highly recommended read for those willing to explore alternatives of heart and mind. Five Stars.
Martin is a guy’s guy, one who enjoys the simple things in life: baseball games with his son, family days, barbecues, and date nights with his lovely wife.
Once a year for two weeks, Martin takes his son, Marty, to Quillon’s Covert, a rustic family cabin secluded in the beautiful California mountains. Since before those long days of learning to play ball, Marty has loved his dad, but as Marty matures, Martin starts to see something else settle in his son’s uncertain gaze. What’s there lingers a little more than it should, and it seems far more appraising than it once was.
As Marty shows every sign of taking the lead, Martin is faced with the tough choices most parents never see: lose his son by being a father, or try to balance what’s best for their relationship by being something… more.
But with another trip to Quillon’s Covert on the horizon, has the point of no return already begun?