Gilbert Adair's extraordinary new novel constitutes both the exuberant celebration of, and the melancholy elegy for, that poignantly brief period in the early 1980s when homosexuals marched collectively, arm in arm, out of the closet.
Not all homosexuals, however. Adair's protagonist, Gideon, a lonely, horny young Englishman who arrives in Paris at the very beginning of the decade to take up a teaching post in the local Berlitz, is increasingly fascinated by the intoxicating atmosphere of erotic banter and bragging in the school's all-male and virtually all-gay common room. The moment has surely arrived for him, too, to overcome his own chronic timidity and actually do what he has only ever dared fantasise about. Yet Gideon has a secret - a secret he is prepared to share with nobody but the reader, a secret he is finally obliged to confront, with surprising results, when the shadow of AIDS starts to cast its sinister net over the gay community.
Wise and witty, Buenas Noches, Buenos Aires contrives to be many things at once: a flamboyant chronicle of a period of sexual emancipation now long gone, an incisive dissection of the circuitous route taken by one young man from self-doubt to self-discovery, a tour de force of astonishing sexual candour and, not least, a dazzling stylistic exercise.