Thursday, 16 February 2006

I've been reading a lot of 'gay' fiction recently. It's not a conscious choice. Just that the good writers who've come my way of late have been gay. There's Christos Tsiolkas, whose books Loaded (1995), The Jesus Man (1999) and Dead Europe (2005) are all reviewed on this blog for anyone wishing an introduction to this outrageously talented author. He currently works as a nurse to supplement his income from publishing, and thoroughly deserves to be better known and supported.

Now I'm reading Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty (2004), which won the Man Booker Prize — that U.K. touchstone for good fiction. Hollinghurst's book is clearly 'gay' in tendency. But it's more than that. It's also quality fiction. Not that one should feel the need to apologise for reading gay fiction. We're altogether past that point, now, one would have thought. I'll be reviewing The Line of Beauty in a few days, when I finish the book.


Anonymous said...

Trying being a Homosexual in todays world?.....while you may think that the world has indeed come a long way from the previous clandestine lives gay men and women have had to endure, There is still a large volume of the population around the world that stuggle with accepting homosexuality as a life! Men and women in countries are still being incarcerated, put to death and vilified around the issues of their sexuality.

I applaude your broadmindedness in the area and congratulate you on reviewing "gay fiction", but also ask you to continue your exploration into Gay Literature and comment at a later stage on the adveristies that Gay men and women worldwide are facing. I am sure that the books you have read so far touch on some of these issues.

Matthew da Silva said...

There's no doubt that homosexuality is still taboo for many people. But these people do not interest me, and therefore find no place on my blog.

In The Line of Beauty, for example, there's a resistance in the mind of the gay hero to disclosing his predilections. Even the people he lives with -- the Feddens -- evince a starchy, conservative rigour that tends to reject non-heterosexual relations. And they know about Nick. The clandestine nature of Nick's relationship with Wani, who is nurturing a long engagement to a young woman, is highlighted by contemporary moeurs. Wani doesn't want his father to know that he's dallying on the side with a poof, while his fiancee waits patiently. It's not clear why he doesn't marry -- presumably because he's got a committment to Nick that he can't efface from his life.

The novel is set in the mid-eighties, but things are still obstructive for gays. However, as I said, I'm not interested in people who are prejudiced against homosexuals -- so I don't spend any time thinking about them or writing about them on my blog. They can go fuck themselves, as far as I'm concerned.

As I said in my blog post, my interest is in good fiction -- gay or otherwise -- and that's where my it will remain.

Anonymous said...

Hi ;)
oh... what crazy news!
what do U suppose about it?