One pleasure of reading a Kallmaker novel – she’s written 20-plus – is that her fiction hasn’t fallen into a formulaic rut. There are assured givens in every book: lesbians and love. And, first with All the Wrong Places and now 18th & Castro a lot of erotic noodling. But there’s something original to every book, too; this latest is set almost entirely on Halloween in the Castro, with costumed women coming and going from an apartment building inhabited entirely by dykes. Some have lovers, some want lovers, some favor the frilly look, some love leathers – and all are out for a night of juicy action.
This is more a series of short stories than a novel, with a cast of characters who buzz in and out of each other’s lives (and apartments) in the course of one busy night, their sexual encounters framed by the tension between two women perched on the apartment’s rooftop to watch the parade of costumes below – and, of course, to fall in love. This is Kallmaker-brand fiction, after all.
In Newsweekly, New England’s GLBT Newspaper
18th and Castro – Karin Kallmaker