Licentious Litanies

At about 19 pages in length, Rob Roper’s Licentious Litanies reads, in some ways, like a comic version of The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now.” At age 26, a young man named John begins making lists in order to make sense of his life. Yet for all of his list making, John finds little satisfaction. Indeed, his lists generally end up raising more questions than they answer. Case in point: John’s sudden epiphany that he may be gay. According to the lists he’s compiled, there’s no question about it, and though he feels no particular attraction to men, John sets out to meet one. At this point in the story, strains of the The Smiths are all but audible: “There’s a club if you’d like to go. You could meet somebody who really loves you.” More to the point, as John, a loner by nature, practically cries out, “I am human and I need to be loved just like everybody else does.” Also a bumbler by nature, John gets himself into some sticky sticky situations, many involving his ill-informed understanding of gay culture, before the story resolves itself. Ostensibly about a young man questioning his own sexual orientation, “Licentious Litanies” is ultimately about the quest for love, which the story and the Smiths’ song both suggest is something that unites everyone regardless of orientation.

PS: Today is my birthday! If you’d be so kind as to consider buying my latest novel, The Grievers, I’d be very grateful!

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