Three from Surry Hills Library

14 Mar

The first novel numbers a blogger among its murder victims:

Vegard Krogh kept a blog, one of those incredibly self-centred things that the author thinks are interesting for the rest of the world. Yesterday he told his readers that he had to have supper with his mother because he owed her money. The revolting man really was a great…

His blog told the murderer all he or she needed to know…

So be warned. The fact that blogger also parodies crime fiction writers turns out to be not irrelevant too.

So I must be careful in talking about Anne Holt, The Final Murder (Norway 2004; English translation 2007). I included another of her novels in my Best Reads of 2007; this novel is definitely one of the Best Reads of 2008. 🙂 That should keep me safe…

dolby Turning to US gay fiction, a thriving corner of the book market, I do note that writing courses in the USA must be telling people that it adds weight if a story is consciously linked to one of the great plot archetypes. This may well be true, but when it is too blatant problems may arise. More problems arise if the chosen archetype evokes a degree of bathos. That, I’m afraid, is to a degree the case with what is otherwise a very good novel, Tom Dolby’s The Sixth Form (2008). That’s the author on the right above. Look, it is well worth reading, is often very insightful, and certainly is interesting. I just wish Dolby had forgotten about “Hansel and Gretel”!

From London to Frisco, boarding school to Yale, as a member of the prestigious Dolby family (his father is founder and chairman of Dolby Laboratories—their home entertainment theatres are in family rooms worldwide), Tom Dolby enjoyed a childhood filled with privilege few of us can imagine.

But the basic experiences of coming to terms with one’s sexuality have little to do with class distinction.

Which is probably why Dolby’s first novel, the bestselling The Trouble Boy, dealt with both—adjusting to gay life in New York during the height of the Internet boom and living up to the high bar set by successful parents—and his current release, The Sixth Form, dips its toe in both bonds as well.

Set at a New England boarding school, The Sixth Form tells the story of Ethan, a Bay Area transplant introduced to a life of wealth and privilege like he’s never experienced before. Instantly thrust into the worlds of privileged student Todd Eldon and free-spirit teacher Hannah McClellan, it’s a coming of age tale… for all involved…

Hannah isn’t exactly free-spirited…

author2 Clytemnestra and the whole Greek Tragedy thing is evoked somewhat less blatantly in Roberto C Ferrari’s Pierce (2007).

Roberto C. Ferrari has been an adjunct professor, bird handler, disc jockey, fortune teller, pianist, receptionist, and university and museum librarian. He holds degrees from the University of South Florida, and is currently in New York City working towards his Ph.D. in art history. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Library Administration, Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, and Notes and Queries, and his fiction in the Louisiana Review. His first novel is Pierce.

I don’t really share the author’s enthusiasm for Swinburne, I’m afraid, and I found the sex scene at the end just a bit too detailed and almost parodic of too many porn sites, but sex is actually difficult to write well. That said, this really is quite a good novel, well plotted and with much insight into the nature of grief, into personal relationships both gay and straight, and also the strange phenomenon of “cutting” — inflicting wounds on oneself. Not at the top of the gay fiction tree yet, but worth looking out for.

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Posted by on March 14, 2008 in Best read of 2008, book reviews, Crime and/or crime fiction, Fiction, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues, reading


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