Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Story Review: Mahape a ale Wala'au by Paul G. Bens

Title: Mahape a ale Wala'au
Author: Paul G. Bens
Genre: m/m romance
URL: http://www.torquerebooks.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=816
Price:US $2,49
Other Information/warnings:explicit m/m

Summary: Toshi is looking for a break from his daily grind. He's a company man who desperately wants something more, even if it's just for a moment. He finds it on vacation in Hawaii with Kristopher, and if it doesn't last into his real life back in Tokyo, at least he has something to hold in his heart when he goes home. After all, that's what vacations are all about.

My review: Mr. Bens has a way with words. He manages to paint such vivid pictures with them, that even the stifling sameness of a day in Toshi's life, in all its lonely predictability is crystal clear. There's something bitter-sweet in the way Toshi sees his world. He sees the shades of grey, the constraints he lives under, but he sees the small rays of comfort in simple things too, like eye contact with another man, a gentle touch where it shouldn't happen and the hope no one else will notice. Toshi sees his world in layers of which action is only the most superficial. The meaning behind those actions is what Bens focuses on and what give this story the depth a mere tale of two men on the beach could never have.

When Toshi arrives in Hawaii, the contrast to his every-day, anticipated though it is, still gives him pause. He takes his time to find his place and in so doing, manages to see through to the place where a one night stand can be so much more. Toshi even sheds a few of his own layers to become something more himself, taking chances and being bold. When he goes home, he can layer himself back under his formal suit and tie, but he's discovered something about himself on this trip and there's never any way to return from that.

Paul's use of the language makes this a pleasant, lyrical read and so much more than one might expect out of a short read like this. It's almost like watching the waves on the beach, steady, soothing, but undeniably powerful. I've been saving this little story for a treat and you know, definitely better than chocolate!

My Recommendation: Cozy up with a nice cocktail and devote an hour or so to this story. Call it a mini vacation.