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THE TORONTO YOU ARE LEAVING - a Novel - by Gordon Stewart Anderson

 

 

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Globe_And_Mail_Review
Jeffrey Round
Toronto Star Reviews
Critical Acclaim

Gordon’s powers of characterization are stunning, creating a large cast of memorable people, each distinct and alive. His sensitive understanding of human emotion is breathtaking. He has fully brought to life a particular time in the story of Toronto and in the history of gay men. His novel is a moving love story and historical document of interest and value. - Rosemary Aubert, Mystery Writer, 2006.

The author has captured the spirit of our age; baby boomers coming of age, leaving home to attend university, coming out and living the queer life in Toronto. The characters are beautifully conceived and the descent of AIDS upon their lives is skillfully crafted. In a very real sense…I remember this tale happening. – Kyle Rae, City Councillor, Toronto City Hall, 2006.

Anderson’s 1970-1980 novel personifies the pride, courage and resilience that he and many other young gay men responded to throughout their lives. With humour and love, this story and its strongly-delineated characters epitomize Gordon’s obsession with a full life experienced during too short a day. – Clair Sedore, 2006.

Gay and lesbian people, families and friends reach out to the church for help, but often experience a traditional church full of condemnation and judgement. Yet Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. John 13:35. We knock at the doors of the church seeking love, compassion, acceptance and justice. For too long, gay men diagnosed with HIV were left to die, without the love and support from their local House of God. Gordon’s book, The Toronto You Are Leaving, indicates a joy of life, the impact of AIDS, and the need for friendship and love within the gay and lesbian community. – Reverend Brent Hawkes, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, 2006.

A dignity is carved out from the commonplace conventions as these young gay men seek their place within society. Every act of kindness is valued, while respect and camaraderie in their dealing with each other keep their hearts alive. – Al McAuley, 2006.

G.S. Anderson is wonderfully aware of the subtle and often threatening nuances that distinguish the complex roles in gay life:  the friend who “doesn’t know”, the close friend “who does know”, the one-nighter, the roommate, the lover and the ex-lover.
               I’ve lived more than 70 years in Toronto, 45 as a militant gay man, and I’ve never seen a more lively and realistic depiction of gay life in Canada’s gayest city.


            My heart goes out to Anderson’s richly portrayed characters as they struggle, in realistic dialogue, to negotiate the restless and risky emotions of hidden and open gay life in a non-gay world. - Dr. John Alan Lee, author of Colours of Love, Getting Sex and Gay Mid-life and Maturity, to name a few, 2006.


            I am pleased and impressed by the novel and its characters. The dialogue is strong, the narrative moves along smoothly and creates interesting tension, the characters are well-developed – the Toronto settings are recognizable…Gordon’s writing is clear, friendly and earnest. – Greg Ioannou, 1996.

Based in Toronto, the novel introduces David’s crush on a straight man, his first friendship with another gay man, and his curiosity and fears about the new world he is entering. The book deals with important issues as homophobia within the Toronto community, the impact of coming-out, the introduction of HIV/AIDS, and the development of caring relationships. – Bev Walpole, 2006.

With strong dialogue, fast-paced narrative, and sufficient tension to keep the reader interested, The Toronto You Are Leaving is a tender and direct love story of a young gay man’s coming-of-age in Toronto during the l970’s and l980’s. Gordon has written with wit, humour and empathy. – Todd F. Towery, 2005.

The Toronto of the 1970’s and l980’s is portrayed with humour and pathos. The lively companionship and sexual ribaldry provides an enriched basis for a powerful novel, while it portrays the stark reality of a pandemic which continues to rock our world. – Dawn Fasken, 2006.

The warmth and eagerness of Gordon’s writing – combined with the vivid, engaging characters and the fascinating story of The Toronto You Are Leaving – cannot fail to touch its readers. – Natalee Caple, author, l996.

No other writer I know has captured the Toronto gay scene in the l970’s like Gordon Stewart Anderson. The Toronto You Are Leaving shows us what it was like to be young in the era of gay liberation, to live the university life, the gay life, the life of youth—and then, suddenly, to be plunged into unimaginable tragedy. One of the indispensable novels about Toronto. – Ian Young, author of The Stonewall Experiment: A Gay Psychohistory, 2006.

It remains folly to feel complacent about HIV/AIDS. Social, cultural and economic vulnerabilities create problems in controlling or curing this pandemic. A lack of education to prevent AIDS and a lack of compassion for those suffering from this disease stop our youth from controlling their lives and their health. Ignorance of gay and lesbian relationships create discord and emotional pain. Gordon’s book presents insight into the life of a young gay Toronto man and that of his friends. His writing is unflinchingly brave and honest. This book speaks to each of us, and we should listen. – Joan Anderson, 2006.

The most powerful section, in my opinion, is ‘Jack’s Letter’. It has an articulate sense of anger, which I found enormously engrossing and compelling. It’s also sweeping—and describes the historical elements in such an intimate way that I found it heart-breaking. Very moving, with an integrity and courage that clings to my mind. – Stephen LeBlanc, 2006.

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