William Di Canzio. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-10260-9
Playwright Di Canzio’s canny debut retells E.M. Forster’s pioneering gay classic, Maurice, from the point of view of the gamekeeper who ends up with the title character. Working-class Alec Scudder is born in 1893 Dorset, where he becomes a voracious reader while at school, then has his first sexual experience with a man before reluctantly leaving for a servant job at Michaelmount. Alec is soon sent from Michaelmount to Penge, where after several months he meets Maurice and begins a romance that consumes them both. The two men illicitly set up house and embark on “their life together as outlaws,” but their happiness ends with the beginning of WWI: both enlist and are separated, with Alec going through war’s “dripping faucet of terror” and hoping to reunite with Maurice. Di Canzio liberally quotes dialogue from Forster’s novel for dozens of pages, creating a satisfying blend of fan fiction and intertextuality. The romance and the wartime scenes are particularly well rendered, as is a postwar episode featuring Alec in Cassis. Less compelling, however, are the subplots, such as one involving Maurice’s sister Kitty. Forster is a high benchmark, but Di Canzio makes a noble effort in this inspired work. Agent: Matthew Carnicelli, Carnicelli Literary Management. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/23/2021
Release date: 07/06/2021
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-250-84923-6
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