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Coming to Terms with Life and Death

Tom Baker “Paper White Narcissus”, iUniverse, 2014.

Reviewed by Amos Lassen
Nov 24, 2014

Set in 1966, Tim Halladay is discovering his sexual self as he reaches his senior year at William and Mary College. We go back in time with him as he experiences the darker side of gay life in Washington D.C. During the week he lives at his aunt’s in Georgetown in a basement apartment in her home but on the weekends he explores the gay neighborhoods of the nations’ capital. It is there that he feels at home with the remarkable people who populate the areas. Throughout most of the book Tim is a student in Williamsburg, Virginia at the College of William and Mary and most of the story tales place there.

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FULL FRONTAL, to make a long story short.

by Tom Baker, New York & Bloomington, iUniverse 2012.

Reviewed by Amos Lassen
December 5, 2012

I was lucky enough to meet Tom Baker right after his first book, The Sound of One Horse Dancing, was published. He had come to Provincetown and invited me to have lunch with him and I really enjoyed it (but that in no way influenced my review). One of the things that I really enjoy about Tom Baker is that he had already finished one career when he started a new career as a writer and this gives him the advantage of being able to look back on life and use his own experiences in his writing.

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Changes In Life

The Sound of One Horse Dancing
by Tom Baker. iUniverse, 2011

Reviewed by Amos Lassen
September 3, 2012

Tim Halladay seems to have it all. He is vice president of an ad agency (the first he interviewed with), he is the toast of Madison Avenue and he has achieved a great deal in only five years. He has taken over some of the most prestigious accounts of the 1970s. But then ... a week before Thanksgiving everything changed, and after spending a night of booze and sex, he gets to work late and is fired with no explanation. He was low on cash and could not even pay his rent, and he knows that he must find a way to deal with his lack of a job. He begins to think back on his life - his unstable childhood, his time in the military, his high school affair with Karen, his girlfriend, his college education at William and Mary, his move to New York and his first advertising job and of himself as a closeted gay man in that period when Stonewall became a symbol of liberation.

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Sound of One Horse Dancing


iUniverse (212 pp.)
$24.95 Hardcover
$14.95 Paperback

October 14, 2011
ISBN: 978-1450271271

When a young, wildly successful ad executive is unexpectedly fired from a 1970s Madison Avenue ad agency, he must come to terms with his closeted identity as a Stonewall-era gay man and differentiate the truly meaningful from the inconsequential in Baker's debut.

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The Sound of One Horse Dancing

New York & Bloomington:
iUniverse, Inc. 2011, $24.95.

Robert Phillips, The Texas Review
Spring/Summer 2012

Tom Baker's long-awaited first novel is here, and it was well worth the wait. Largely drawing on his years in the New York City advertising world, the book gives us an insider's view of that highly competitive business. It also gives us one of the highly likeable characters in recent American fiction, twenty-seven-year-old Tim Halladay -- despite his materialism and binge-drinking.

Early in the book, Tim is riding high. He has delivered a prestigious account to the agency, based upon his own connections. And he has been given a $2,000 raise. (In the early 1970's that was a good raise.)

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