The Giddy Death of the Gays & the Strange Demise of Straights by Redfern Jon Barrett

This reissue of Barrett’s brilliant and compelling comedy of polyamorous romance and nonbinary adventure includes a Foreword by the author and an Afterword by noted queer writer Meg-John Barker.

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Caroline and her Dom live out their normal lives amongst the poverty, alcoholics, and street preachers of Swansea, Wales. But when Dom and his straight roommate fall in love—a passionate, secret, non-sexual love—their lives are transformed into a queer chaos of cross-dressing, gender-bending and free love. Will Dom hold on to his relationship? Can religious fundamentalists be adopted as pets? And just what are The Lesbians up to? The ultimate battle between preachers and drag queens, skinheads, and sex workers, boyfriends, and girlfriend, is set to change the city forever.

“Love conquers all, especially such trivial things as monogamy and sexual orientation, in this polyamorous romance . . . a sprightlier comedy of modern manners.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Set in Swansea, Wales, The Giddy Death of the Gays & the Strange Demise of Straights is an engaging and thought-provoking read. It’s a story about breaking free of restrictions—relationship conventions, geographical place, traditional gender identity.” —Out in Print

“Redfern Jon Barrett’s second novel is a fantastic ride through the lives of these Swansea residents. The Giddy Death of the Gays and the Strange Demise of Straights is recommended to any library that collects popular fiction.” —GLBT Roundtable of the American Library Association

“It is truly impossible to describe this book in a way that does it justice; just download it immediately.” —Paste Magazine

“If you want a book to be entertained, I recommend it. If you want a book to juggle interesting ideas, I recommend it . . . pick it up, read it, enjoy it, love it.” —Nicholas Kameniar-Sandery, for JOY 94.9

“This book is a fun way of considering how you feel about other people. Sexual activities are spoken of, but not spotlighted. It is the exploration of emotions that Barrett presents to his readers . . . and it speaks of individuals being free to express their emotional attachment to others without being labeled gay, straight . . . or . . . different.” —GABixlerReviews

The Giddy Death of the Gays and Strange Demise of Straights should be mandatory reading because the subject matter is important thematically and so well conveyed. I would certainly recommend it for anyone looking for LGBT literature, but absolutely anyone else looking for a love/coming-of-age story.” —Illiterarty Book Review

“In The Giddy Death of Gays and the Strange Demise of Straights, Redfern Jon Barrett’s rambunctious second novel, an oddball and one-of-a-kind romantic comedy, Swansea’s not much of a habitat to celebrate. At best, the choral voices of Caroline, Rutti, Dom, and Richard, the novel’s twentysomething first-person narrators, damn it with faint praise as relatively affordable and quiet; and as better than nothing. Usually, though, they dwell on faults. Bennett is accomplished at handling the quartet of distinct first-person narrators. Caroline, inhabiting the life of a geography postgrad has just enough money to both eat and pay rent. She works at a “shitty place that calls itself a bar.” She’s in love with Dom, an introverted maths grad student. Richard’s shy, an avid gamer, and employed by a call center with a daily surplus of idiotic callers.” —Lambda Literary

“Each character takes centre stage and becomes the protagonist, not only in their designated first-person sections but throughout. It takes real skill to make this reader identify with a straight woman, a straight man, a drag queen, a lesbian, and their fluctuating identities, all sometimes within a single chapter. Most importantly, it made me examine my own identities and question the strictures that I have built around them.” —

REDFERN JON BARRETT (they/them) is a writer, community activist, and author of the novels Proud Pink Sky, Forget Yourself, The Giddy Death of the Gays & the Strange Demise of Straights, which was a finalist in the Bisexual Book Awards and shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award. Redfern’s short stories have appeared in Booth, The Sun, Passages North, SLEEK, and Flash Fiction Online, were shortlisted for Scotland’s HISSAC prize, and longlisted for the Royal Academy/Pin Drop Short Story Award; their other writing has been featured in publications including Guernica and PinkNews, as well as the National Museum of Denmark.

Born in the North of England, Redfern lived in market towns, seaside resorts, and post-industrial cities, before moving to Wales and gaining a Ph.D. in Literature from Swansea University (Prifysgol Abertawe). Their campaign work for LGBTQ and polyamory rights has been referenced in The Mirror, Metro, BBC News, Buzzfeed, and The Independent. Now Redfern lives in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, with two boyfriends and far too many books.


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