Read Song of the Loon by Richard Amory Online


"You are Ephraim MacIver!"Thus strangers greeted him as he made his way through the wilderness. His coming was heralded ... eagerly awaited by the lonely noblemen of the forest, and they guided him in his search for new meanings to the word love ... for a new self, that he must learn to love before the love of others could be truly his....

Title : Song of the Loon
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 12904870
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 191 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Song of the Loon Reviews

  • Jesse
    2019-03-12 11:38

    While at first glance Song of the Loon seems to be little more than an overripe sexual picaresque, very quickly the physical journey that structures the narrative begins taking on deep psychospiritual resonances as each handsome and hunky man the main character encounters helps him understand and embrace some part of his physical attraction to other men. The intentionally grandiose tone and mythic aspirations can seem rather overwrought and more than a bit silly when read today; perhaps even more difficult to tolerate is the representation of Native American culture and individuals, which is the stuff of "noble savage" archetypes. But by situating itself in a world beyond any recognizable historical reality, it opens up a space of fantasy and electrifying possibility superseding the bounds of what in a historical sense would have been considered socially acceptable or approbatory in regards to depictions of male/male sexuality. It makes complete sense that Amory's book became such a touchstone for an entire generations of gay men. To be quite honest, I kind of regret that my own generation hasn't really been capable of retaining a space for this type of thing within our own (tenuously maintained) queer culture.[Capsule review from the post My Year of Reading Queerly over at my blog, Queer Modernisms.]

  • Sarah Sammis
    2019-02-26 13:39

    I read the first thirty or so pages but it was like reading James Fenimore Cooper writing slash. I don't like Cooper's style of writing on a good day. Today is not a good day.

    2019-02-18 12:24

    SONG OF THE LOON is a strange book -- too porny to be a mere sylvan romance, but too idyllic to approximate conventional expectations of pornography, gay or straight. A lone wanderer takes on the American West of the late 19th Century, meets all kinds of men from all kinds of cultures one at a time, and ends most chapters with the sharing of ideals and orgasms. One oft-quoted description of the book describes it as a mash-up of James Fenimore Cooper and Jean Genet, to which I might add Jean-Jacques Rosseau, because the "savages" encountered are quite noble indeed. The overarching theme seems to be that true love (at least, the same-sex kind) is impossible within the constraints of Victorian-American "culture" and Judaeo-Christian "civilization." Freedom is all. Middle-class aspirations are a trap. It all sounds very Sixties, doesn't it? As silly as it sounds, there's a sweetness to this book that has beguiled several generations of gay readers since it was first published in 1966. Other than LOON, the dominant themes in the novels of homosexual relationships of the period were closetedness and guilt (consider GIOVANNI'S ROOM) before the rise of gay liberation in the Seventies, and then moving away from that closet afterward (DANCER FROM THE DANCE, say). LOON does get repetitious and formulaic, but there's nothing like this book, including its lack of exploitation or oppression. Be sure to read it, but feel free to skip the softcore film adaptation from 1970.

  • Gerry Burnie
    2019-03-07 16:12

    Gerry B's Book Reviews - http://wwww.gerrycan.wordpress.comThe so-called “Stonewall Inn Riots” of 1969 are considered the ‘enough-is-enough’ turning point in GLBT relations with the broader public, and the predominantly homophobic officials who policed it. Likewise, in Canada it was the 1982 “Bathhouse Raids[1] that gave rise to the Gay Pride demonstrations. Imagine, therefore, that the Song of the Loon, by Richard Amory [re-released by Arsenal Pulp Press, May 1, 2005] was first published three years before Stonewall, and 16 years before the Bathhouse Raids. That make it a true artefact, and as an unapologetic homoerotic novel, it is also somewhat of a legend.It is not to say that homoerotic books weren’t available before 1965. They were. However, they were generally badly written, and could only be purchased through P.O. boxes, or from a clandestine bookstores, like the “Glad Day Books” in Toronto, hidden away on the second floor of a non-descript building.Although I was aware of Song of the Loon, and remember the making of the 1970, motion picture version, starring John Iverson, Morgan Royce and Lancer Ward, I never got around to reading the novel until now. I was struck, therefore, by the amount of sexual content (albeit not as explicitly written as today) and the gutsyness of the both the author and publisher in publishing it.The plot and style are noteworthy, as well. Someone has described the style as “pastoral,” and I think this describes it very well. It is evocative of the ‘return to nature’ movement—complete with a cast of noble savages—where man is able to find his inner self in an idyllic setting; and, as one might expect, the characters are all idyllic too, including, to a lesser extent, the villains.This is not to belittle the story in any way, for I think we have all wished for a Garden of Eden existence where the inhabitants are all hunky and horny, the risks are minimal, and homophobia does not exist.If you are looking for the ultimate feel good story, you should give this one a try. Enthusiastically recommended. Four bees.

  • Patrick Gibson
    2019-02-26 11:32

    I can’t recall ever reading a gay novel. A couple short stories over the years, maybe. Not really had any interest. But a tattered copy of ‘Song of the Loon’ popped up in a box of 60’s novels at the flea market. While looking at the somewhat familiar cover (the book used to be everywhere in the 70’s, I think) the seller said, “that’s a classic—first of its kind—started the gay revolution.” Okay, I’m all for any kind of revolution, so take my dollar…This turned out to be a surprise. It’s pulpy, for sure, and the sex scenes are gratuitous, for sure, and erotic, even so—but this is almost borderline well written. I couldn’t decide if it was a gay ‘Pilgrims Progress’ or ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles.’ Often during intimate scenes the characters speak in quasi-poetry, which actually works in a strange way. The main character, Ephraim MacIver flees an abusive relationship and heads west (think 19th century West) encountering numerous oversexed Indians (authors words, not mine) for dalliances in the wild, before settling down with a hunky lumberjack (aren’t they all—hunky, that is). That’s pretty much it—except this reads more like a meditation than adventure tale. In fact, I am surprised by the unabashed frankness of the sex. Not by the sex itself but that it is explored without guilt, worry over disease, cultural angst, stigmatization, or even xenophobia (Indians are hot horny buggers).The lack of torment is what surprised me the most. I would have expected fundamentalist preachers to show up and condemn the queers to hell, and then local outraged folk to run them out of town with pitchforks, after having the shit beat out of them by the macho descendants of Eve. But none of that happened. It is simply nice little book of erotic literature—which stands out because it is not heterosexual.After I finished reading, I Googled the title and was surprised to learn this novel was so popular there were a couple sequels and a movie adaptation. Huh.

  • Hannah Givens
    2019-03-03 12:20

    I never know how to rate a historical novel. The book itself was kind of boring? But I love it. It was probably the most well-known gay books of the 60s, an insta-classic. So I love that it's extant, that it's been republished, and that the new edition has such awesome extra material included. (Interviews with the author shortly after it was published, a great introduction from Michael Bronski, etc.) And actually, even though I was bored, by the end I'd started to understand the author's perspective and the statement he was trying to make. The "Indians" are entirely made-up, he explicitly states in his author's note that real Native American tribes don't act like this at all and it's purely fantasy... That wouldn't be acceptable now, and it shouldn't have been then, but it was and he used it to say really extraordinary things about gay sex and love and happiness. His interviews and articles at the end made the whole book worth it, to get that insight on the industry at the time and the way he wanted it to be, the kinds of books he was trying to write and the kinds of changes the publishers made. So, problematic fave to the max I guess, but five stars for the fact that this edition exists!

  • Karl
    2019-03-14 10:29

    Wow. I first read this book back in the day. It is amazing that this book was first published three years before Stonewall! I can't think of any other book that is so celebratory about gay sex and gay identity. And it is remarkably well written. A must read for anyone who has any interest in the development of gay literature. And this edition has some wonderful supplementary material included that helps place the book in perspective in regard to its place in gay literature.

  • Colin
    2019-03-21 09:28

    My husband asked me to read this years ago, so I did. I'm not sure if I would have bothered to finish it otherwise, but in retrospect it was worth reading, if for no other benefit than the conversations it triggered between us about different types of relationships and the significance of a book like this one in American gay history, which I had initially under-estimated.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-07 12:19

    SlashReaders LJ: Alright well, I've been looking at a number of books recently, republished books put out by 'Little Sister's Classic's', recently. Someone else actually mentioned this book a while back. So I finally decided to pick up a copy of it.I find this book fascinating, because I feel that to some extent it is something more serious wrapped up in the guise of something less serious. I actually read the introduction after reading the novel, which only made me feel more strongly about that point. While you can read this novel as something light hearted and fun, sex and growing up ect. There is a... deeper level to this novel that comes forward in little points. Through the wisdom that Ephraim MacIver exhibits from time to time.(view spoiler)[While the constant, reiteration of the 'I love you' syndrome annoys me. I feel as if it is in this book to prove a point. It is curious to find popular themes in literature that are annoying, taken and used for another purpose.So going back to the introduction that was published at the beginning of the reprinted edition put out by 'Little Sister's'. While it is dated to fit the time period with when 'Song of the Loon', was originally published there are concepts in it that span past that time. It still has merit on what I see in gay themed literature today and even in general literature. There is a quote towards the end of the article that I would like to share with you. This quote was written by Douglas Dean and published in May 1973:"Why is it though that we don't have more honest gay novels and short stories? It is my contention that the reason for this, in the final analysis. May be found in the attitude of the gay readers themselves.Most gay readers do not want "good" gay literature; they couldn't care less about novels and short stories that are honestly written. What they want is, for the most part, crap - and that's why the publishers go on giving it to them. That's why the "fuck" books, ground out by some publishers in the way that a butcher grinds out hamburger, are good sellers, and it is also why a writer who tries to elevate the tone of the gay paperback novel is doomed to a certain and never ending battle," (Song of the Loon: Introduction, pg 24-25).I feel that this touches on some of my own frustrations with finding things that are good reads. What with the explosion of under edited, "fuck" books as Dean puts it. Writings that are put together for nothing more then sex. They lack characterization; they lack even the semblance of a decent plot or any thought put into anything other then course and uninteresting detailed sex scenes that are unimaginative and repetitive.For example, I'm not a big fan of body hair. However I was thinking while reading Amory's book that it is much more realistic--to some extent. I could poke a few holes in that too but I'll pass for the moment. However my point is that in most books both characters are a) good looking b) usually have large dicks (or at least one of them does), c) at least one if not both are well muscled. But how often do authors mention anything about body hair? Really do the main characters in all books shave all their body hair off? It's not about the reality of the matter it's not about truth. It's about a stylized meeting of stereotypes in an over sexed literate population.This is all not to say that sex can be well done, but I think we try and do it too much. To the extent that it is overdone. That is because sex is so prevalent in our literature, in our TV shows in our movies, and on our computers. That sometimes authors do better not to try and give details because the details become crass and over used. They become stereotypes of 'sex' in and of themselves. Things you could go and find in any bit of fan fiction or RPG. We want to know everything in this day and age, we don't want things left to the imagination. But in trying to put in all this detail we lose the magic of that moment that we are trying to portray we ruin it. (hide spoiler)]Hmmm okay maybe that's a bit harsh, but still essentially I think it is true. Yes, there can be good sex scenes that are well done. However often I find they are the ones that don't spell out who does what with their mouth and their cock to the extent that nothing is left to the imagination.

  • Adam Dunn
    2019-03-21 16:36

    I finished it. That’s a good thing.The book itself is tedious. For the first 60% the book follows a simple pattern and then rinse and repeat. The hero sails downstream, meets an Indian, they have sex. Within the first hour of their being together they tell each other they love each other and have never loved another more. They recite long drawn-out poetry to each other. Then the hero moves on downstream and the process begins again.There is really no description of native life to keep you interested, although the book is set in the past there’s no historical interest displayed. Just clumsy sex scenes and clumsier dialogue about love said by people who just met.This book is held up as one of the gay pulp classics and an example of the author overcoming the pulp medium to produce literature. For me this is the wrong book to hang that hat on. I’ve read much better and more relevant pulp, such as Sam or Lost on Twilight Road. The hero must keep moving on to see Bear-who-dreams for a spiritual quest. Once he finally does (and sleeps with him, no shock there) the book picks up a bit. It’s enough to get you through to the end, although the villain of the piece really goes nowhere.An example of the sticky dialogue, after sleeping with the entire Native community, Ephraim picks a mate and everyone else is jealous. “Tell them,” Ephraim said after a hushed pause, “to forget their disappointment at not having either of us, for we love each other.” As if that helps the other guys, that’s why they were upset in the first place!There’s a nice introduction in the Little Sisters version I read detailing how pulp can be more than pulp and holding this book up as an example, something I don’t really agree with.In the afterward the author explains more through interviews what he was trying to do with the book and I can see elements of this in the story. Writing a book with no women, where women weren’t even acknowledged to exist. Writing a story hoping to deal with issues of body image and monogamy. I appreciate the try.The appendices for the book are great and make this edition the one you need to pick up. There are several interviews with the author and another author of the time on this book, the movie and gay publishing of the time. I can sense the author’s outrage at the injustice coming through the page, though the things they were arguing about now seem less important with time. For example, the author takes exception to the publishing industries term “fag hot” for gay themed books. Another author wrote an S&M book and specifically said in the intro letter that the leather community hates being called “leather queens.” So of course they called the book “The Leather Queens”. No royalties were paid, lines were cut or inserted from other sources, and the editors were heterosexual. Not very conducive to artistic expression. There are also examples of gay infighting, where the book says men should act and dress like “men”. Where the author says publishing books with the word “fag” or “gay” in the title is bad for the image we present to straights, etc. This idea of self-policing gays has been around forever. I remember recently a debate on whether there should be a separate “gay” section at a local author’s festival. If there’s no gay section, how am I supposed to find the gay books?I don’t understand how this book was so popular, other than it was one of the first. It’s not one I would choose to rest my laurels on now.

  • Benjamin
    2019-03-13 13:18

    Ephraim MacIver is escaping his one time lover, following the course a wise man has advised him – a course to discover himself - when he encounters an Indian Singing Heron. Singing Heron already knows Ephraim’s name, and begins to instruct him in the ways of the Loon Society, and before sending him further on his journey of discovery they fall in love. As Ephraim’s quest continues he meets more Indians as well as Cyrus, and he fall in love with them all.As Ephraim learns more of the exclusively male Loon Society, and their ways of unselfish love, he tries to understand how he also can love more than one person. Yet at the same time he learns that he may also find a special partner from among all those who have fallen in love with him while on his quest. For this is what marks those of the Loon society out from others, they can share their love while still holding to one partner, they do not know jealously.This is quite remarkable story, especially considering it was written over forty years ago. At its core is the thought of free love along with its unrestrained physical fulfillment, without jealousy. The story has the feel of fantasy about it as everything falls perfectly in place as Ephraim continues his journey, and with the meaningful dreams. The story is contains many explicit passages of love making; passages which manage to avoid being crude and put to shame much of what is written today.The story does raise concerns though. The men all seem to be handsome and well equipped, and readily declare undying love within a few days or possibly hours of meeting and before they have had a chance to really know one another. It is easy to get the impression that this love is built on physical attraction; although in fairness it does also speak of the beauty within, and Ephraim at least does not restrict his attentions just to the young. And maybe this is part of the fantasy, this ability accurately to read one another so quickly.There are two sequels to the Song of the Loon: Song of Aaron and Willow Song.

  • Stephen
    2019-02-28 10:23

    First heard of this book and the movie that it engendered when reading The Front Runner. Billy Sive confesses to Harlen Brown that he'd long nurtured a fantasy of making out with his lover in a tiny, seedy uptown theater while watching "The Song of the Loon."It was several years later that I finally came across a copy of the book and it was just as "pulpy" as Billy Sive said it was and yet... I could understand the sentimental attraction.These books were obviously produced as labors of love, This was done prior to e-publishing or even word processing, when manuscripts had to be painstakingly typed and then type set. Small private presses would run off as many copies as the author could pay for or perhaps a couple hundred copies "on spec" to be sold at Adult bookstores. Not the big neon-encrusted ones of the present but small stores on the outskirts of towns frequented only by men and only at night. It's clear though-out that this was not intended as a best seller. Just a story that the author was compelled to tell and that others felt compelled to seek out and to read in secret. I now consider this more a relic of a time now gone than just a tawdry paperback that was intended to be brought home in a plain brown wrapper and read and re-read in the privacy of one's room behind closed doors. Readers who wanted more than the immediate gratification of the "quarter flicks" or the tawdry, often grainy, often black and white pics of long haired guys in knee-length athletic socks and little else.

  • Garnet
    2019-03-21 11:16

    I understand that this was risky and edgy in it's frank depiction of gay sex. The story, set in the mid 1800's in the world of the forests and mountains of the west, has the potential to be a good story. However the sheer ridiculous of the encounters, delivered to the protagonist with a conveyor belt rapidness is hard to believe. It is a world of gay men where women apparently simply do not exist. The only thing the Indians and white men are interested in, is professing their love for each other and wanting to express that love physically. After the first few sex encounters I fast forwarded through the descriptions as I came to them. Boring!

  • Joseph
    2019-03-17 10:12

    This book has some historical significance; it was one of the first gay novels out there.Not that I'm complaining, but compared with gay novels today, it's pretty much soft core porn.The characters were interesting. Set in the early settler days, Ephraim, the main character, is trying to escape a relationship by traveling into Indian country. He discovers a rare tribe that believe in the "way of the loon". He goes thru many male lovers along his journey, til he meets Cyrus, a fellow settler. Supposedly, this was made into an x rated film, and based on what I've read, it would be a doozy!

  • Steve
    2019-03-02 16:26

    First published in 1966, this little novel actually reflects a lot of that time, even though the story takes place in the late 1800's. There is not even a mention of a single woman in the book. The word "love" is used more than any other word and the hippies of the 1960's would feel right at home with the continual love-fest in the world of the Society of the Loon.The story is actually one of discovery of what life means to Ephraim McIver, the main character, Ephraim explores different ways relationships develop and people interact.

  • Thomas Conner
    2019-03-19 17:38

    I love this book. It is gay pulp fiction published in 1966 but it is well-written and stands as the first underground gay novel to become a world-wide best seller. The author received none of the rewards; he sold the manuscript to Greenleaf Classics for $750. This book helped open the way for gay literature to climb out from underground. Plus, it's a beautiful story! It is dated and a product of its time but I still love it!

  • Tim
    2019-02-21 17:42

    Besides being an historically important book in the gay lit genre, it is a fun, sexy (though NOT politically correct by 2016 standards) gay fantasy. It also has strong morality lessons couched in parable-like scenarios. I just found this book, but wish I had read it back in my formative years because it not only explicitly describes sex between men but also makes it romantic and normal and "manly" at a time when gay men were called sissies, pansies, or nancy-boys.

  • Earl Cousins
    2019-03-20 14:35

    It's much better than I thought it would be, and despite the idyllic situations (part of the author's use of 'pastoral' conventions perhaps?), manages to capture the confusion and contradictions of self-acceptance. It's a shame it was out of print for so long (about 30 years), but better late than never.

  • Charles
    2019-03-17 11:35

    I can't believe this book had only been published for seven years when I first read it because it already seemed to be coming from a different, more innocent world. I loved it then, and found it very sexy though maybe a little, er, size-obsessed. The poet Jonathan Williams once told me that Richard Amory was the pen name of a woman. Can anyone confirm, or refute, this?

  • Scott
    2019-03-03 14:39

    Coming out of an era where pulp gay fiction ruled, this book crossed over into literature within its erotica. Native American berdache myths linked with pioneers of the trapping variety brings about quite a soul-searching tale.

  • J.P.
    2019-03-11 17:30

    Cheesy good romance between a buckskin wearing pioneer type and a flute-playing Native American out in the wild. With the emphasis on the word "cheesy."

  • Chris
    2019-03-10 13:29


  • Cecil
    2019-02-22 09:24


  • Robert Fucci
    2019-02-19 17:40

    A classic loved it then loved it again in its latest printing.

  • David Allen White
    2019-03-09 13:12

    An early gay classic that I always wanted to read. Now I have. It was OK, not that great.

  • Anthony
    2019-03-18 16:32

    pre-stonewall gay "pastoral" erotica-- camping, hunting/gathering, archery, swimming, indian dances, a psychedelic spirit quest, and lots of gay sex. very fun.

  • The Master
    2019-03-18 14:34

    At last! I should like to read more Westerns like this one.