“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
I’ve read only one other B. Snow story, that one offered in the Dreamspinner Press anthology Cross Bones. “From a Simmer to a Burn” is the gorgeous and compelling tale of an escaped slave who becomes steward aboard pirate captain William Shaughnessy’s ship, and is forced to confront his general deep loathing of the Dutch who’d captured and forced him into servitude within a single man named Olaf, who is kind and gentle and to whom Sule is unwillingly attracted. I went back and read the story again before digging into Idiots’ Tango, remembering now exactly why it was one of my favorite stories in the collection.
Idiots’ Tango is a very different enemies-to-lovers story than “Simmer” but is no less wonderful for it. B. Snow’s talent seems to be weaving together characters whose lives I want to meddle in—both main and supporting—into plots that I want to get lost in for hours straight until I’m done and left with wanting more.
This novella is a contemporary tale that begins when Josh Dimitriou and Stu Edelstein are just teenagers, then stretches over more than a decade of acrimonious encounters at various family gatherings that anyone who’s not an idiot can see is simply their way of dancing around the fact they’re incredibly attracted to each other. It’s been said there’s a razor thin line between love and hate, and that the opposite of hate isn’t love, nor is the opposite of love hate—the opposite of both is apathy, and let me tell you, Josh and Stu are anything but apathetic toward each other, which makes the waiting and wondering when they’re finally going to get around to realizing that no matter what they call it—gay, bi, Josh-sexual, whatever—all it boils down to is that they’ve got a lot of making up for lost time to do, and that makes it all the more fun.
Are Josh and Stu frustrating? Yes. Yes, they are. They’re idiots after all, right? And just like the love/hate thing, apparently there’s also a razor thin line between unwitting idiocy and willful stupidity. Is all that frustration worth it? I thought so. What’s not to love about a little delayed gratification? Especially when you get to be all smug and I-told-you-so in the end.
Reviewed by: Lisa