It’s 205. Tony and Rachel’s son Jacob is coming to Baltimore to start graduate school at the world famous Peabody Conservatory of Music. He will stay at Godfather Jim and Uncle Joe’s Baltimore house. The sequel to Dialogues on the Beach, Spirit’s Tether traces a year of growth and of mourning, the complexities of families of origin and of choice, the joys and torments of first love and coming out, and the “spirit’s tether” binding love, sex, and romance throughout a life span.
John C. McLucas, A Baltimorean by adoption, grew up in Pennsylvania, Washington, and Paris. He was educated in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rome, and New York. Trained as an opera singer, he is also a long-time AIDS and LGBTQ activist, an elder in a progressive Presbyterian church, and a committed Italophile. He has close ties of friendship in Rome, Florence, Siena, Campania, and the Veneto. He is a professor emeritus of Italian and Latin (and in a pinch, French) at Towson University, where he taught for 36 years. For 20 years, he also taught Italian diction and repertoire to voice students at Peabody Conservatory. His favorite Italian authors are Ariosto and Calvino; his favorite English language novelist is Henry James. The sound track of his life is dominated by Mozart.
Spirit’s Tether is a wonderful story about the redemptive nature of profound grief and all the mystery of the new order it creates. THESE are very real characters to me, and so is the heartbreak and the healing. —Jan-Mitchell Sherrill, author of Friend of the Groom and other poetry collections.
Spirit’s Tether is a beautiful book. With elegant language that echoes Vidal, John McLucas is an artist. There are few things as comforting as reading a writer whose words make you trust. —Louis Crowder, author of The City of NO.
Spirit’s Tether draws on that traditional hymn’s theme of community to tell the story of “Godfather Jim” and the healing value of love and close relationships. It focuses especially on Jim’s loving and unorthodox tie to J.J, his bright “spectrum-y” godchild who comes to live with Jim to study at Peabody. J.J. leaves behind a first-girlfriend, Lyric, and soon comes out as gay to himself and his family with his godfather’s enthusiastic support.
McLucas thinks of the book as literary fiction, not queer fiction, but the story is layered with sophisticated insight into flirty and sometimes sexual interactions between the protagonist and a range of men, as he searches for “a twilight romance of muted fondness and tapering passions.” His writing is worldly and, often, elegant. —Bill Hamilton - Hailing from Texas and a long-time Baltimorean, Bill is retired from a career in communications. He is the editor of Bolton Hill Bulletin, a neighborhood news and culture review.