The University of Wisconsin Press



The Boom Economy
Or, Scenes from Clerical Life
Brian Bouldrey

Terrace Books

Stuck with leftover friendships and commitments, what can a man do, but become a priest?

Dennis Bacchus is a man who has outlived himself. HIV-positive and prepared to die at any minute, he finds himself in the late 1990s blessed with life-giving drugs, supportive friends, a boom economy, and an era of never-ending celebration—and he doesn't know what to do with himself.

For ten years he has traveled and celebrated a curtailed life with the similarly infected Jimmy and, though Dennis was never that close to Jimmy, he decided to let the friendship run its course to the end. Now there's no end in sight. Stuck with leftover friendships, careers, and commitments, what can a man do but become a priest? The Boom Economy covers what was supposed to be the last decade of Dennis Bacchus' life, but turns out to be the first decade of the rest of it.

The Boom Economy is a novel about conversion—not just seroconversion or religious conversion, but all of the social, spiritual, and emotional problems of changing from one life to another. At once raucous and serious, pagan and saintly, it's a look at the way we live now. Again.

"I have long admired the wit, compassion and utter poise of Brian Bouldrey's work, his way of finding the hilarity in desperately sad situations, the sharpness and intelligence of his observations of the little details that make up our lives. The Boom Economy is the story of a spiritual quest; and a comedy of manners about living with HIV; and an exploration of love and friendship and loneliness at the end of the century. The amazing thing is that it's so funny, so tender, and so wise all at the same time."—Dan Chaon, author of Among the Missing

"Bouldrey's diverse and colorful cast of characters, his keen depiction of the complexities of people's psyches, and his deft mixture of the comic and the serious make for a wonderfully rich read. His theme—that love is always risky, no matter what your situation—is beautifully explored in this smart, sensual, and savvy novel." — Phillip Gambone, Out , October 2003, New York, NY

"In this new novel, The Boom Economy, Brian Bouldrey explores a health situation peculiar to our time" —Daniel Blue, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, September 21, 2003

The Terrace Books logo is designed in the shape of a book with a Union chair in silhouette on the cover. The words Terrace Books, Madison, Wisconsin appear also.

this is a photo of the author, Brian Bouldrey, in shirt sleeves, with his arms crossed. He wears glasses.Brian Bouldrey has written five books and edited six anthologies, including three volumes of Best American Gay Fiction. His edited collection Wrestling with the Angel: Faith and Religion in the Lives of Gay Men won a Lambda Literary Award and his memoir Monster: Adventures in American Machismo, was a Lambda finalist. He is a visiting assistant professor in creative writing at Northwestern University. He is also the author of Honorable Bandit, published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

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cover of the Bouldrey is a man's walking on a dark, brick road

September 2003
LC: 2003006266 PS
294 pp. 6 x 9

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Cloth $24.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-18900-6
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