Not a new book, but new to me and without doubt this is an underappreactited British Gay classic, hugely enjoyable with all the subtleties of a delightful comedy of manners set in a small and apparently quiet village in England. It’s Armistead Maupin crossed with Mapp and Lucia in a uproarious gay comedy of rural life. And -for once- that’s actually how this book it, seriously funny, viciously on point about the machinations and subtle point scoring of English village life and skewers plenty of recognisable types from British daily life.
Two gay men, recently in love, move in and set up home together and these offers up a serious challenge to the various larger than life county living styles that needs to adjust to the fact of this coupling getting on with their daily lives. One of their neighbour loaths them, but he’s got a shady secret of his own, the rest of the village make space, embrace or find some kind of chivying along to make it work, not that the protagonists are having any of that.
It’s a brilliant examination of clash, culture, class, urban and country, gay and straight, progressive and intolerant and made me laugh out loud constantly. Corlett’s humour is gentle but relentless, ravaging personal prejudices and giving us more than a few delightful revelations as the story unfolds. This is the perfect gift for the reader in your life who may not have heard of this classic 20 year old book and is looking to expand their book shelves with quality writing they may have missed first time round. My copy was given to me by a french friend who ‘couldn’t believe’ that I’d never read it, as everyone in France has read it at some point, British Barbarians!