Friday, June 26, 2009

Josef Jaeger

Jere' M. Fishback, April 2009. Protagonist Josef is 13 in 1933 when his mother dies and he's sent to live with his uncle Ernst. Ernst is a semi-openly gay man, living with 20-year-old boy toy Rudy. Josef and Rudy become close friends, and they travel to Berlin together when Josef is offered a role in a Nazi propaganda film. Josef has known for quite a while that he's interested in boys rather than girls, and he confirms this during sexual explorations with Rudy.



Uncle Ernst is a Nazi leader, and he encourages Josef to join the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth). Josef agrees because he likes the uniform and the camping trips. He knows that Nazis are said to hate Jews, but his own observations don't match this rumor. Still, when Josef falls in love with his Jewish friend David, he keeps his Hitlerjugend membership to himself for as long as he can...

Historical gay novels are necessarily problem novels, but this one avoids the clichés of the genre. Josef is about as comfortable as he can be with his sexuality and finds several willing partners. The love story is sweet, and the plot is action-packed. Recommended.

4 comments:

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Nice review. I wasn't sure about this one but I really want to check it out now.

-Lauren

Jere said...

Thanks for the nice review, Daisy; I'm glad you enjoyed "Josef Jaeger".

Jere'

Kristin Dodge said...

I agree that this avoids the typical expectations of the genre. Did you find his age to be an issue? Otherwise, I loved this book... I have already recommended it to a ton of pals.

Daisy Porter said...

Kristin, that's an important question, about Josef's age, and I did not find it to be an issue. It really worked in the context of the book. The sex was consensual, and Josef was believably able to provide consent, even though that doesn't make sense today/in America.