5 out of 5 Stars
Whether they’re trembling before an invasive squirrel, giving the straight dope to an errant call-girl or enduring a #MeToo moment with a handsy waiter on their Roman honeymoon, Kyle and Julius are just the kind of gay married couple who didn’t see the 2016 election coming.
In this variegated book of vignettes, flash scenes and personal essays, award-winning author Kyle Thomas Smith documents the peculiarities of life in his home, his borough, his chiropractor’s office and these times.
Step into his Cockloft.
This book totally tickled me!! Hilarious, insightful, and just plain fun, this book gave me a look into Kyle’s life and made me want more!! From attempting to get a squirrel out of his cockloft (yes, it is a part of the house… not a dirty word to giggle at. Ok. It’s both.), to trying to rip off Prince and Chaka Khan to make up a song for Seventeen magazine, to teaching his husband the Buddhist way, to dealing with Trump actually getting voted into office, this was just a treat from start to finish!!! (Trump supporters steer clear! Ha ha!!)
Cockloft: Scenes from a Gay Marriage is the PERFECT summer read! (Well, it’s the perfect ANY TIME read!) Since it is made up of short tales it’s really easy to pick up and read a little at your own pace. But, the only way to introduce you to how amazing this book, is to put up one of the vignettes! This one pretty much sums up everything…
Don Paco Pepe
(Julius enters kitchen. Finds Kyle in a weeping heap.)
JULIUS: Kyle! What…. Oh, no. It was workshop tonight.
KYLE: They said my play was so sedentary, it makes My Dinner with Andre look like The Matrix.
JULIUS: Now, Kyle, did they really say that?
KYLE: They might as well have. They said it takes more than wisecracks and banter to make a play go round. They say it needs a plot. A plot! I mean, what do these people want from me!
JULIUS: You mean, besides a plot?
KYLE: Well isn’t that the trouble with this world? People are all busy, busy, busy- rushing, rushing, rushing to whatever distraction they can fin next.- What about stillness, huh? What about rumination? What about plumbing one’s depths? hat about appreciating the multidimentionality of the moment? My meditation group would be all over it.
JULIUS: Kyle, when I was growing up in Puerto Rico, my aunt used to tell me the parable of Don Paco Pepe.
KYLE: Oh no! Not the donkey story again!
JULIUS: Yes, the donkey story again. – Don Paco Pepe was going into town with his grandson. It was a long walk so Don Paco Pepe picked up his grandson and put his grandson on his donkey and as Don Paco Pepe walked alongside his donkey, Don Paco Pepe and his grandson made their way on the long, dusty roads into town. Well! People along the way were beside themselves! “Don Paco Pepe,” they said, “You’re an old man. You should take a load off. You ride the donkey. Your grandson is old enough to walk to town on his own two feet.” So Don Paco Pepe took his grandson off the donkey and then Don Paco Pepe climbed onto the donkey and then Don Paco Pepe and his grandson and the donkey started back on their way to town. Up the road they saw another group of people and these people were just as scandalized as the first group of people, except these people said, “Don Paco Pepe, how can you be so cruel to that poor donkey? It is far too small, and you are far too big.” Well, Don Paco Pepe knew he couldn’t keep riding the donkey or people would be mad at him. And Don Paco Pepe knew he couldn’t let his grandson ride the donkey or people would be mad at both Don Paco Pepe and his grandson. So Don Paco Pepe got off the donkey and Don Paco Pepe picked up the donkey and Don Paco Pepe carried the donkey into town. And the moral of the story is….
JULIUS & KYLE (in unison- Julius, exultant; Kyle, blase) That is you’re out to please everyone, you’rein for a hernia.
JULIUS: That’s right.
KYLE: Julius… I never told you this but…. that is bar-none the DUMBEST story I’ve ever heard in my entire life.
JULIUS: Oh, Really, Kyle? Well, at least it has a plot.
(Julius Storms out of the kitchen)
This story is just the tip of the iceberg, and really shows that the author can laugh at himself as well! My one “complaint” (put in quotes, because it’s not REALLY a complaint… more of an observation), is that there seem to be many stories that start with either Kyle, or Julius crying…. what’s up with that?? But, if that’s the ONLY observation I made, that’s pretty amazing!
PICK UP YOUR COPY, NOW!!!
Kyle Thomas Smith is the author of the multi-award-winning novel 85A. He lives in Brooklyn and San Francisco with his husband Julius and their cats, Giuseppe and Giacomo.
“The author’s singular memoir uses its mix of dialogue and prose to great effect, with laser-focused wit placed on cherished childhood memories and truly fun times in adulthood. The writing can be ultraconcise (one chapter consists of a humorous haiku), but a full picture of Smith’s life emerges in the anecdotes, from 1970s childhood hopes and dreams to a laudable portrait of a gay marriage. The storytelling is lighter on its feet than that of David Sedaris but just as funny. Whether Smith and Julius are bribing contractors or failing to get through Anna Karenina (“My eyes gave out”), the author’s voice never strays off course through wildly different scenarios.
A playful and often hilarious book full of New York stories, domestic hijinks, and madcap journeys.” —-Kirkus Reviews
“In Cockloft, Kyle Thomas Smith takes the reader on a journey built on humor, irony, and sincerity…The humor brings a certain joy to each experience, giving meaning to everyday moments that most people dismiss. Smith shows there is richness in little things and has a gift for creating a clear scene with well-chosen words…Reading this book made me wish I could see my life with such well-crafted wit, especially in this time of political and social mess.” —-Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews and Award Contest
“Seinfeld meets Sedaris in the Snapchat Age.” —-Jill Dearman, author, The Great Bravura
“85A is blessed with one of the most appealing and unique narrators…This is an exciting and sharply-written debut.” —-Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven, Last Night in Montreal
“85A is Kyle Thomas Smith’s debut novel, which is exciting because of the quality of the work, but also because of the new voice that the literary world has gained in Smith.” —-Chicago Tribune
“Like Holden, [85A’s protagonist] Seamus serves as an important reminder of the universal urge to self-define in a world hostile to anyone who dares to be different.” —-Edge
“[Kyle Thomas Smith] does a marvelous job capturing the heart and soul of the dark underbelly of his hometown [Chicago] over the course of one long day in January 1989.” —-This Week in New York
Cockloft: Scenes from a Gay Marriage is Best Served with a Sidecar and Pizza Bagels!
- 1 oz Cognac
- 1 oz Orange Liqueur (Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, Cointreau, etc.)
- 1/2 oz lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
- Sugar half the rim of the glass
- Put all ingredients in a shaker full of ice and shake until cold
- Strain into glass