Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2018
My constant premonition was the author was trying to convince me they could write as if some professor was lurking in the background looking at each phrase. I suspect some of my disappointment came from the beginning where the long additional praise from what seemed an in-crowd of authors, possibly the lengthiest I've seen, pulled me toward unrealistic expectations. The reviewer who said it was like Ishiguro's Remains of the Day had to be the farthest from the mark. When one reads his work, you don't want to put the book down, and the transitions to new situations and thoughts just flow so well one hardly realizes they've moved on. Here, I had to force myself to take each step, turn each page.
Admittedly, I've felt the same about some greats including Faulkner and Thomas Wolfe though I did not feel the same for Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms or Vidal's The City and the Pillar. I mention only because we readers have our own biases and I should be honest about mine. If you prefer that style of writing, your review could be much better. True, once I made it through the quicksand, I found some interesting turns of phrase. But wading through pages without paragraphs wore me, and possibly that is what stood out most as too self-conscious, too gimmicky, an unwillingness to separate one thought into another and by doing so, losing me and my memory of the prose, leaving no phrase to remember, to pass on.
Then, came the story. Once again someone falling in love with a hustler which might be interesting if someone, and this is not the only gay author to write of same, would ever take me into the hustler's head more than describing sex, their infatuation, and essentially saying what is often true, the hustler is poor and needs to make money. The main character never sensed their condescension, but it was there, and coming to terms with it would have been an exciting take on the same situation. Hustlers are far more complex as Rechy shows in City of Night, possibly more interesting than the Johns who pursue them, but here there are no new discoveries, no new take on gay life, no new twist on coming of age, and for me, only a shallow love. For that, I would have easily tolerated wondering when one thought ended, and another began.