Such Times

Christopher Coe, Author, Ian Coe, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $22.95 (317p) ISBN 978-0-15-186426-3
Coe, author of the striking novel of gay life, I Look Divine , outdoes himself in this lapidary new tale of an 18-year affair between photographer Timothy Springer and his wealthy, worldly, older lover Jasper. Timothy adores Jasper, who has taught him everything, taken him everywhere and given him all the finer things in life, including his appreciation of glamor and luxe. Jasper, however, already has a lover with whom he shares a house; he also has a taste for casual sex with strangers on the docks. Filtered through Timothy's consciousness as part of a dinner conversation after Jasper's death, Timothy's story of masochistic love and ultimate betrayal wanders back and forth through time, from the beginning of their relationship to Jasper's last days, through all the complicated negotiations that go on in love affairs. Timothy's dinner companion is Dominic, an old friend now stricken with AIDS who is linked both to his host and to Jasper in the sexual past. Deftly plotted and full of surprises, the novel showcases Coe's distinctive, occasionally superb writing, a brilliant verbal mirror of his narrator's obsession with flat-out, drop-dead elegance. The prose's elegiac beauty elevates what might have been merely an odyssey of gay sex and shopping into something deeply transcendent, reminiscent of both Oscar Wilde's and Marcel Proust's late writings. Angry, melancholy and obsessed with the injustices of love, this may well be the gay novel of the decade. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-14-024143-3
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