In his fourth collection of short stories, David Huddle gently scrutinizes the marvelous complexity of male/female relations. Intimates presents, with uncommon control, the beguiling possibilities of our brush with the opposite sex, and Huddle’s discerning eye and candid prose capture with unfailing accuracy a startling range of emotions and voices.
In “Scotland,” thirteen-year-old Angela experiences the first ache of teenage infatuation when she is befriended by a twenty-four-year-old model who has been chosen “Man of the Year” by Contemporary Black Man magazine. In “The Page,” a married professor struggles beneath the burden of fidelity and his adulterous tendencies, after receiving an enticing phone call from an unknown admirer of his poetry. And in “The Hearing,” a distinguished academic must defend the purity of his love of beauty before a review board when a striking young student is discovered stretched out on his desk, nude. The closing story portrays two old friends at their twenty-fifth high school reunion, assessing their lives, and finally each other, with poignantly comic results.
Huddle’s genius lies in exposing new facets of the ageless and fascinating terrain of gender relationships. Whether the subject is a fourteen-year-old boy or sexually aggressive aerobics instructor, Intimates reveals with stunning simplicity how universal the human need for love can be.