On a wintry morning in 1974, Hank Preston makes a semen delivery to the New York Hospital Fertility Clinic. Running late, he takes the elevator rather than the stairway earmarked for such deliveries. A woman enters, the recipient of his semen, and a relationship develops that threatens to blow their already rocky lives to smithereens. To add to Hank’s problems, his transgendered boss at the Strand Bookstore is in love with him. “But I’m straight,” Hank protests. “And I’m a woman,” Joey insists.
The odd yet compelling interactions of these three vibrant characters makes for a gripping story. Hank needs to come to terms with what happened to him in Vietnam. Karen, the would-be mother, needs to clarify the difference between fantasy and reality. Joey, the sanest of the three, despite—or maybe because of—her gender mix-up, shares her wisdom and tries, somewhat unsuccessfully, to hold them all on course. Secrets are revealed as the twisting plot erupts into a fiery conclusion.
Offspring is a story of longings, thwarted dreams and the search for truth. Ultimately, it is a tale of family, and our fervent need to belong.
About the Author
Michael Quadland grew up in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He graduated from Dartmouth College and received a Master of Public Health degree from Yale University and a PhD in psychology from New York University. In addition to his private psychotherapy practice, he taught human sexuality at Mt Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, supervised a sex information hotline in Manhattan and consulted with many organizations about AIDS prevention and the emotional-psychological aspects of the disease. He has published many articles in professional journals about AIDS and sexuality. The Los Angeles Times published his nonfiction article, A Red X, about the death of a friend.
Quadland left AIDS work in 1995, reduced the size of his psychotherapy practice and restored an eighteenth century farmhouse in Connecticut, doing much of the work himself. He also turned to writing fiction. His first novel, That Was Then, published in 2007, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. He now divides his time between New York City and northwest Connecticut.
A story of coincidences and the connections that emerge from desire and biology, the novel indelibly marks the passions and failings of its characters.
“Michael Quadland’s terrific new novel, Offspring, tells the fascinating and emotionally riveting story of a sperm donor—a Vietnam vet tortured with unresolved feelings about his dead comrade—who accidentally meets the recipient of his semen, a Broadway actress with a loose hold on reality. Add a transgendered person seeking acceptance and romance to the mix, and you have an edgy, funny, yet poignant saga perfect for our times. Like Quadland’s Lambda-finalist first novel, That Was Then, this is at heart a story of people’s search for truth, love, and a sense of belonging. The dialogue sparkles with wit and charm, as if Noel Coward and Christopher Isherwood collaborated to create quintessential, quirky Quadland prose—and the author’s empathy for his characters makes for a book that will touch your heart deeply, and stay in your mind for a long, long time.”—Lynette Brasfield, author of Nature Lessons: A Novel
“Offspring, Michael Quadland’s second luminous novel, raises thorny questions about the true meaning of love. What could be comic—and, in fact, the novel produces many satisfying chortles—is full of complex pathos and frank humanity. An entertaining and enthralling jaunt.”—Cris Mazza, author of Trickle-Down Timeline and Homeland