Not a Trifling Romance

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Sweet CreekSweet Creek
by Lee Lynch
Bold Strokes Press. 300 pages, $15.95

 

FROM THE MID-1980’s to the late 90’s, Lee Lynch was one of the most prolific authors of the lesbian-feminist literary renaissance. Her first novel, Toothpick House, published in 1984 and misread by many as a simple romance, was a milestone in that it was one of the first lesbian books to examine the divide between old school bar butches and femmes and those in the nouveau lesbian-feminist movement who looked down their middle-class noses at what they saw as sexist role-playing. After a collection of short stories, Old Dyke Tales, which harked back to Lynch’s early years of writing for The Ladder, she released The Swashbuckler, now considered a butch femme classic, set in Greenwich Village on the brink of the gay political movement. She continued to publish a book every year or so, building up a body of work that resulted in a huge following and made her one of lesbian literature’s best-loved and oft-quoted authors. In 1997, she released the politically charged Rafferty Street, influenced by a series of attempted anti-gay bar measures sponsored by the Christian right in her adopted state of Oregon.

This steady output was followed by a nine-year silence, which is broken at last with the publication of Sweet Creek

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