Erryn reviews ‘Dirty Mind’ by Roe Horvat. This book was released by the author on September 1, 2017, and is 146 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Vance Bastian and produced by Beaten Track Publishing. It was released on August 16, 2019, and is 5 hrs and 10 mins long.
Why I read this book: I enjoyed ‘A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat’ and so was keen to listen to another book by Roe Horvat and narrated by Vance Bastian.
Alexander Popescu is a university lecturer in a quiet German town. He’s a respectable man in his thirties who stays fit, has a decent career, and travels alone – his only vice is an occasional greasy meal. And beer. And violent computer games. Nobody has to know about the other Alex – the acclaimed porn writer. His ingenious erotic fantasies earn him good money and keep his capricious mind harmlessly entertained.
When his young friend and protégé Christian transfers to Freiburg for medical school, Alex is overjoyed…and terrified that Christian will find out about Alex’s indecent alter ego. The time they spend together, as lovely as it is, could overturn Alex’s carefully balanced life. Suddenly, the writing is not good enough, his hair seems to be thinning, his careful hookups leave him unfulfilled, and his dreams are haunted by the innocent young man he’s vowed to protect.
However, Christian is not a boy anymore. He’s a grown man of 21, clever, and deadly attractive. And he’s hiding some secrets of his own.
Alex is a lucky man with a secret. Three years ago he met a young man in a bar and rescued the kid. They struck up a conversation and it was clear Christian felt he’d discovered a kindred spirit. Someone he could talk to. Someone he could be honest to. Although only a teenager, Christian seemed pretty clear on who he was. Too young for Alex, to be sure, but ready to spread his wings. What developed was a beautiful friendship – mainly through emails. It isn’t until Christian transfers to medical school in Alex’s town that things get interesting. See Alex has promised Christian’s mother, and himself, that nothing bad will happen to the young protégé.
Might be good in theory, but in practice it’s a lot harder to maintain distance. Christian always seems to be popping up in Alex’s life and he can’t deny how much he cares for the younger man. Not in a romantic way, of course. Or so he tells himself. In fact he nicknamed Christian ‘squirrel’ when they first met and he often uses the name as a reminder of the age difference. Needless to say it annoys Christian. He wants to be seen as the man of twenty-one that he is. And although Alex seems old, he’s only thirty-three. As Christian says to him: “you’re afraid of failing and of losing your hair”. Alex is a little hair-obsessed. Can a man have a midlife crisis at thirty-three? Apparently so.
Alex has another problem. He’s a writer. Of porn. He keeps that part of him on the DL because, frankly, no one really needs to know. It provides him with extra income and a source for his angst. He can write, immersing himself in dirty deeds. He has no intention of ever letting Christian know about the porn. But sometimes young persistent men discover secrets. Sometimes they turn the tables on their mentors. Sometimes they get the affection and love they’re craving.
I really enjoyed this story. Alex’s angst did seem a little extreme at times – hell, I’m forty-five and nowhere near as panicked about growing old. I suppose if I had a young thing lusting after me and I was dying to return the attention things might be different. Vance Bastian narrated this story and I was so pleased. I enjoy his work and this performance was no exception. I especially loved how he nailed Alex’s inner thoughts and monologues. I felt like I was in Alex’s head. This is a single point of view story, so I really was in Alex’s head. I might have appreciated seeing things from Christian’s point of view but the story worked as is. And I can definitely recommend a nice read that, despite Alex’s fretting, was low on angst, high on humor, and happy in life.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Queer fiction author Roe Horvat was born in the post-communist wasteland of former Czechoslovakia. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, Roe traveled Europe and finally settled in Sweden. They love Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, and daiquiri, with equal passion. When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.