This review contains spoilers and swearing. I've read a fair few pro romance novels and an utter boatload of slash fan fiction so I think you will know to listen with awe when I tell you that this novel is the most outrageous example of Healing Cock I have ever read. And not just any Healing Cock: GAY Healing Cock. Actually, it's more like:GAY HEALING COCKIt's really, really amazing. All the sex between men and women is combative, unrestful, offers no lasting pleasure, is just fairly horrible, really. Sex with men, however, heals Eric and Yves and gives Vivaldo strength to deal with his combative, unrestful relationship with Ida. Ida is fucking seventy five thousand kinds of awesome, as is Cass and man, the conversation they have. Jesus. Baldwin, by the way, is utterly, utterly excellent. His characters are so vivid and nothing about any of them is wasted words, even though Baldwin touches on florid sometimes - you know that 50s, New York, Jazz, writer kind of thing. You'd think the presence of the gay healing cock would cast a pall of unreality over the book but it's more that the rest of the book makes the gay healing cock irrelevant. It's clear that Baldwin fucking loves Rufus and Eric and Yves and Vivaldo, loves them better and best, but he doesn't stint on giving everything his writerly heart can to Cass and Ida and Leona. It struck me most when Cass and Eric are at the museum, at the end of their affair, when Cass just starts talking about how she's smarter than Richard, how that has influenced how she treats him it rips apart the facade of the good fifties housewife/mother/great writer's helpmate that she's been presenting to the world without any warning, and yet you know it's true. It's true. It was all right there in the party where we first meet Ellis.