The Book of Casey Adair – gay man’s journey navigating life during the 1980s
In the fall of 1980, young Casey Adair begins a year of postgraduate theatre research in Spain, then on the verge of a military coup. As he attends plays and dinner parties, visits gay bars, and becomes increasingly involved in protests, Casey’s correspondence reveals intimate confessions and new understandings. He falls in love with a man named Octavio, gets a role in a major theatrical production, and revels in the awakening of his own sexuality and social consciousness. Then, a visit from his college friend Poppy leads to an emotionally charged evening that changes their lives forever.
Three years later Casey is an educator in Boston, trying to balance finding his voice as an AIDS activist, dealing with an intolerant headmaster, and rebuilding a relationship with his daughter. As dear friends fall ill to the virus, he struggles to understand how his many identities—father, teacher, caretaker, dissident, lover, husband—can coexist. In a world that asks so much of us, what is our responsibility to others and ourselves?
Author Ken Harvey is scheduled for a live, public book launch event at Glad Day Bookshop on Saturday February 26, 2022, at 2pm. There’s also a party being planned for the book on April 14, 2022 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
As a side note, much of the story takes place in Toronto. Read the excerpt below.
I left the lake and headed up Bay Street toward the Financial District. No one was around on a Saturday morning. I had a flashback to one day about a year before I left Toronto for Boston. I was walking to my job at the publishing house when I saw a small group gathered at a plaza. They called themselves “Fruit Cocktail,” and each one was dressed head to toe as a fruit: an orange with the word “Sunkist” on it, a bunch of grapes, a banana, an apple, and a lemon. Even with their bulky costumes, they managed to form a kick line as they sang something silly. A sign in front of them said that they were raising money for the Gay and Lesbian Community Appeal, so I threw some change into the hat on the ground.
A few months later I learned that they were performing at the Ryerson University Theater. I told Poppy I was out to do some errands, but went to the show first. The group had grown enough to fill the stage. The fruit costumes were gone, but everyone was dressed in what I’d call fruit colors. I remember lots of singing and dancing, and a woman on roller skates. I wanted to embrace the performers’ complete abandon, but I just wasn’t there yet, and I’m not sure I’m any closer.
Available from University of Wisconsin Press
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.