Queer Corners

Queer Corners is a riveting novel with an unforgettable cast of characters. Mr. Olson has written a page turner that appeals to the bawdy and the soul.” - (Quentin Crisp)
“Gripping…" - (Lambda Book Report)
Queer Corners is a novel with a sharp, satirical edge that cuts directly to the heart of an issue that affects us all.” - (The Bottom Line)

Publicity photo

Publicity photo

Available on Amazon

Available on Amazon


Author's Note

After spending five years with Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde in fin-de-siècle England, I decided it was time to resurface and write about contemporary life in my own country. What I found, however, was that the same anti-gay hysteria that had destroyed Wilde and Beardsley a hundred years earlier was alive and spreading its poisonous vitriol through the U.S. Right-wing Christian zealots in Oregon and other states were trying to pass anti-gay ballot measures to severely restrict the rights of gays and lesbians. Rampant homophobia engulfed entire communities, pitting neighbor against neighbor and even parents against their own children. These were defining times for gay history, politics and culture, yet no one was writing about it from a gay perspective. Queer Corners was born when yet another antigay ballot measure went to the voters of Oregon, forcing gays to battle once again the bigotry in their own backyard. I knew that a novel portraying the gay side of these events would be dismissed as a homosexual polemic, but I didn’t care. The novel practically wrote itself. My agent sent it out and everyone, even gay publishers, turned it down, saying it was “too political”. Finally Jack Yost, a Portlander who started BridgeCity Books, agreed to take it on. As we expected, most of the straight media ignored the book entirely. But it got reviewed and written up in many local, regional and national gay papers and magazines, and it sold steadily. Just as he was getting ready to print a second edition of Queer Corners, Jack died, suddenly and tragically. BridgeCity Books folded and Queer Corners went out of print. (Some booksellers still sell it online.) The gay community has made tremendous political strides, and today same-sex marriage is becoming commonplace. But just a few short years ago, in battlegrounds like the one in Queer Corners, gay men and women were fighting for their most basic civil rights, and the idea of marriage equality was almost unthinkable.


“…wry and sometimes outrageous social comedy…One of the best aspects of Queer Corners is Olson’s effort to show that the gay community is not some monolithic entity, but a group of distinct individuals, each with his or her own virtues and shortcomings, preferences and peccadilloes. “ (The Bookmonger, The Olympian, August 22, 1999)

“There are elements of mystery, soap opera, romance, intrigue and even horror….Olson’s propensity for detail...adds up to an involving…reading experience.” (Review by Barbara Lloyd McMichael, Tacoma News, August 22, 1999)

“Welcome to Queer Corners, the outrageous and outspoken new novel by Donald Olson. As timely as today’s headlines…Frank, funny and disturbing, Queer Corners is a page turner that deals with issues faced by gay men and lesbians every day.” (The Bottom Line, July 16-29, 1999)

“It takes a wry fellow indeed to see the comic potential of an antigay ballot initiative, but with Queer Corners, Donald Olson turns out to have the right (wing) stuff. It’s a tribute to his skills as a storyteller that Olson weaves [the] themes and his observations about the state of the queer nation into his novel yet manages to inject some levity…” (Review by Daniel Mangin, Bay Area Reporter, 15 July 1999)

“While Olson’s characters are initially sassy, sexy, mostly rich and well-accessorized, the ascent of Ballot Measure Three over the novel’s political horizon forces them to get—suddenly, and with a good measure of resistance—serious. …Under Olson’s careful stewardship…it works, and it works well.” (Review by Patrick Collins,  Just Out, November 5, 1999)

“The action is gripping, partly because similar real-life events threatened the rights of gays and lesbians in Oregon and Colorado…Olson plots this novel well; he weaves many characters’ histories into the action, slowly revealing information that will become important as the story moves towards its climax.” (“Trouble with the Neighbors,” Lambda Book Report, December 1999)

“Olson tells a very good story. Queer Corners is a page-turner that will keep you up late into the night. The gay and lesbian characters are complex and vividly drawn, their struggle, inspiring… In spite of its serious subject matter, Queer Corners is filled with enough wry observations and catty comments to make you smile frequently.” (Review by T.M. Ormond, DaKine, November 1999)

“Donald Olson is able to write about a very sensitive subject that holds repercussions for everyone in the gay and lesbian community. He does this in a way that leaves you unable to put down the novel…. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened…If this novel is any indication of what we can expect from Donald Olson, then I just found myself a novelist I can look forward to reading.” (Review by Humberto DaPonte, Sexvibe, Aug/Sept 1999)

“All in all, Queer Corners is a spunky romp through sex and politics in the Pacific Northwest of the ‘90s. It may not be for the faintest of heart, but others will appreciate its vigorous exploration of many of the issues that confront gay people on a regular basis. (“Visit to Queer Corners,” Bremerton Sun, August 20, 1999)