Gideon is a lonely, horny young Englishman who arrives in Paris to take up a teaching post in the local Berlitz, and becomes increasingly fascinated by the intoxicating atmosphere of erotic banter and bragging in the school’s all-male and virtually all-gay common room. The moment has surely arrived for him, too, to overcome his own chronic timidity and actually do what he has only ever dared fantasize about. Yet Gideon has a secret – one he is prepared to share with nobody but the reader, a secret he is finally obliged to confront, with surprising results.
I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started this book. The blurb caught my attention enough without completely giving away the story inside the story. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical when I started reading this one, simply because I dont usually go for this type of book, yet from the moment I started it i was transfixed to this book from the first page, I ended up reading it all in a matter of 2 days, which would have been one day if it wasnt for the fact that I was a little preoccupied with household duties.
This short book uses Adair’s trademark eloquence, fondness for perfect mots, and corkscrew sentences to tell a tale at once comedic and quietly unsettling. His description of one AIDS-ravaged friend in particular stands out as a harrowing moment in a ‘coming’-of-age novel (or not coming-of-age) that celebrates guiltless homosexuality, an essential message still to percolate into the Neanderthal brains of Russian politicians and about a hundred other tiresomely backward nations. Will Self tread similar ground in 2002 with Dorian—a novel set in London that handles the AIDS era with similar impishness and extra grotesquerie.
I would say this is the kind of book you read unsuspecting the shock that will come from most of the content that is in the book.