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Fiction Gay


by (author) Christine Wunnicke

translated by David Miller

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2010
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2010
    List Price

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Written in the language of the period, this vivid and utterly transfixing love story between two men is set in the nineteenth-century American Midwest. Douglas Fortescue is a successful poet in England who flees the country for America following an Oscar Wilde-like scandal insinuating sexual impropriety; Joshua Jenkyns is a feral young outlaw who was taught how to shoot a man at age six, and who, against the wishes of his father, teaches himself how to read, a skill that then unleashes a world of possibility beyond that which he knows. The two men meet when Joshua robs Douglas's carriage and takes him hostage; soon, a remarkable secret is revealed, and these two very different men grow closer, even as Douglas's brother tries to "save" him from his uncivilized surroundings.

Missouri was first published in Germany to wide acclaim. Now available in English for the first time, Missouri is destined to become a gay men's camp classic for its earnest, romantic reinterpretation of a time and place in American history traditionally closed off to gay readers.

About the authors

Christine Wunnicke lives in Munich, Germany. She has published four award-winning novels, a biography, translations, as well as both documentary and literary radio programmes. Missouri, first published in Germany in 2006, is her first book available in English.

Christine Wunnicke's profile page

David Miller is the Director of International Diplomacy and Global Ambassador of Inclusive Climate Action at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. He is responsible for supporting nearly 100 mayors of the world’s largest cities in their climate leadership and building a global movement for socially equitable action to mitigate and adapt to climate change. He served as Chair of C40 Cities from 2008 until 2010.

Miller was Mayor of Toronto from 2003 to 2010. Under his leadership, Toronto became widely admired internationally for its environmental leadership, economic strength, and social integration. He is a leading advocate for the creation of sustainable urban economies and a strong and forceful champion for the next generation of jobs through sustainability. Miller has held a variety of public and private positions and served as Future of Cities Global Fellow at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University from 2011 to 2014.

Miller is a Harvard-trained economist and professionally a lawyer.

David Miller's profile page

Editorial Reviews

The year is 1832 and young poet Douglas Fortescue is the talk of literary London. Across the Atlantic, Joshua Jenkyns has just committed his first murder at the age of six and has retrieved from his victim's coat pocket a copy of the collected works of Byron. This stark novella tells the tale of how their fates become intertwined. Why such a story should come from a German writer is anybody's guess but Wunnicke's imagined American west is as brutal a place as anything Larry McMurtry or Jim Jarmusch has ever created. The drama and singularity of these two characters take the reader to some unusual places and the book is a passionate tribute to the power of words.
?Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, Australia)

Sydney Morning Herald

We loved it. With surprises around each turn of the plot, this beautiful love story shows two totally opposite and very memorable characters who grow more and more alike throughout their relationship. Chosen as one of the GLBTRT Over the Rainbow Project Top Eleven for 2011, Missouri will no doubt become another classic like Brokeback Mountain. -American Library Association GLBT Round Table

ALA GLBT Round Table

Douglas Fortescue is a vaunted British poet and aesthete forced to flee to mid-1800s America with his brother after an Oscar Wildean scandal; orphaned Joshua Jenkyns is a wild-lad outlaw terrorizing the Midwest while carrying in his saddlebags Fortescue's collections of poetry - enigmatic words that speak to the boy's unarticulated sexual longings. Wunnicke's depiction of their doomed love, beautifully bleak and emotionally astute, is a most uncommon gay romance.
?Richard Labonte, Book Marks

Book Marks

Beautifully translated.... The usual point of comparison with prose featuring cowboys is Brokeback Mountain, but Missouri is not really anything like the now infamous Annie Proulx story. Wunnicke's writing is just enough; each segment of her novel is sublimely considered and executed.


The original German text gets an impeccable translation by David Miller. Gay Times (UK)

Gay Times

What follows is a love story, but without a lot of the romantic trappings common to the genre; in particular, the two fellows' struggles with head lice are less romantic than comic, gross and ultimately very historically accurate. It may take a European to fully deconstruct the myth of lighting out for the West to find freedom, and this novel makes a good case for Wunnicke as that writer.
?Sacramento News & Review

Sacramento News & Review

Missouri blends Americans and Englishmen, guns and poetry, cowboys and aristocrats, creating a compelling work that's both entertaining and thought-provoking.
?Gay & Lesbian Review

Gay & Lesbian Review

Missouri is grand in its landscapes and romance. Plus, Wunnicke has come up with a queer pair of lovers who might make you quit Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar.
?Uptown (Winnipeg)


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