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Ilhem

Ilhem

Purgatory: A Novel of the Civil War

Purgatory: A Novel of the Civil War - Jeff Mann I’ll give you a fair warning before you start reading this review : I went all emo on this book!Purgatory is a heavy, slow-paced read, invested by an allegory (yeah, I’m showing off) where Christian martyrdom is shoved back in bigots’ faces and where nature and eroticism only bring poetry. It’s about coming out of anonymity and becoming a human being again, about growing up, about finding balance and harmony and companionship in one’s desires. It’s about being a soldier, being a man, being gay, being in love and in a BDSM relationship. It’s about war. It’s about the South.Ian is a young soldier in the Confederate army. He shares his Cherokee ancestors’ beliefs, daydreams about mythical heros and finds solace to his loneliness in poetry.Drew is a Yankee, a blond giant, a simple farm boy, as scared, exhausted and starved as Ian. He is captured by the small Confederate troop and kept as an outlet, meant to be tortured and punished during their march towards Purgatory Mountain. Ian is appointed his jailor and healer."Then his blue glare falls on me and fixes. I hold him with my eyes, he holds me with his, even after he reaches his breaking point and that brave silence is replaced by deep rag-muffled shouts that soon climb higher into screams, then dip down into sobs."It is the meeting of two bouts of loneliness, two hungers who form a partnership which goal is to help Drew take it all to the end and survive. When their hurt/comfort bond evolves, it’s about feeling strong and feeling small, feeling in control and feeling protected and being whole.Jeff Mann will throw you in the mud, make you shiver in the cold and the rain, he will twist your guts with fear, horror and pity and he will soothe you with spring, blossoming trees and stolen moments. His voice is brutal and gritty, caressing and rocking.Purgatory is not flawless. The tight knot loosened in the very last part and one thing or two that worked totally until then bugged me. Still, it left me with a book that I loved beyond reason and I’m still wondering if I was high on something or what! There is still so much to tell but I’ll shut it now because all my babbling could be summed up in one only sentence:”I can’t say why I find beauty where I do, but I guess I’d better be thankful that there’s any beauty left”.