Grand master of gay literature, Edmund White, is now in his 70s and his first novel was published in 1973. He’s renowned for his classic novel “A Boy’s Own Story” which accompanied me through an episode of glandular fever back in my teens and made the days bearable.
His current novel is about a man called Jack Holmes and his friendship with a gauche straight man called Will. The book is poetically written but very readable with some beautifully drawn scenes. Jack starts out blundering through life as he discovers he’s gay and tries to cope with being excessively well-endowed. I’m sure I’m not the only one who could help someone come to terms with that particular problem? The book details his successes and failures and his experiences with sex and love.
The book is expansive, taking in a large section of time from the mid to late twentieth century and the changing nature of gay life in New York is well depicted. The absurd and clumsy friendship and unrequited lust that burgeons in the friendship between a gay and a straight man is both touchily and comically portrayed and is a running theme through this exceptional story.
If you haven’t got round to reading any Edmund White then I’d definitely recommend this latest work as a starting point.
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