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Fifty Reasons to Say Goodbye - A Novel Paperback – 1 Jun 2004
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"An engaging, entertaining and intelligently written book, which will reset the boundaries for gay literature." -- David Tickner, reFRESH Magazine
A witty, polished collection of vignettes set around the
experience of gay dating. Order this snappy little number. -- Tim Teeman, The Times, 17 July 2004
A witty, polished collection of vignettes... Order this snappy little number. -- Tim Teeman, The Times, 17 July 2004
Alexander is an attentive and skilled writer, an immediately easy, speedy read... dry, wry, camp humour... This is exciting. -- Nadia Gilani, GingerBeer.co.uk, September 2004
Modern gay literature at its finest and most original. -- Axm Magazine, December 2004
This perceptive and obstinately optimistic book balances passion and pathos with wit that entertains, whimsy that charms, and wisdom
that engages. -- Richard Labonte, Book Marks
Truthful, moving, witty, optimistic... Disarmingly, honestly personal in a way that makes the book as a whole speak to everyone. -- Joe Storey-Scott,Gay Times, October 2004 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Publisher
Through fifty different adventures, Nick Alexander takes us on a tour of modern gay society: bars, night-clubs, blind dates, Internet dating Its all here. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
The book is brutally honest; he relates his feelings and in particular, his despondancy and thoughts of suicide as each new partner just fades away as inevitably as a one night stand. When he does finally find someone that makes him happy, fate plays a cruel trick; and he is back once again to the beginning.
If this was a book about straight people, people would compare it to Bridget Jone's Diary or others. As it is about gay men, some will immediately turn away. But I would suggest that you should read this whatever your particular preference. This is a book about real feelings and human frailities; and as such, most people should be able to relate to it.
Be aware that there are some very graphic descriptions of sexual practices including sado-masichism; it might not be suitable for the immature or younger readers. But hopefully, it will help you understand just how much of a stuggle, love, the most basic of human desires can be.
Nick Alexander has fashioned a novel that is at times moving, (I defy anyone not to relate to at least some of the incidents, emotions and insecurities) and at times laugh out loud funny. (Lets hope none of us ever goes home with the egg man.)
The book is written in episode form with short punchy chapters, (think Maupin's Tales Of The City) and so is perfect for those who want to pick up something for a few minutes to read before they settle down for some pleasant dreams, or for someone who can't put it down and needs to devour it all in one go.
Gay Literature should be as varied and complex as the gay community who read it. There is a place for the dark (Edmund White) the thought provoking (Patrick Gale)and now a new name who is also a recorder of the richness of gay experience - Nick Alexander.
Trust me. Don't let this one be the one that got away.
The most immediately perplexing thing about this book is why the action should be set mainly in the south-east of France (although it begins and ends in England, and there are also very brief excursions to the United States and Australia). Mark decides to move to France at the end of chapter ten, and the next chapter begins with the impression that he has settled down there and got his bearings instantaneously. The men Mark subsequently meets are mainly French, logically enough, and presumably Mark is conversant enough in the language to be able to speak to them in French (this impression being corroborated by odd snippets of dialogue given in both French and, for the reader’s benefit, English.) How he picked up the language as quickly and as easily as he picks up men remains a total mystery, however. Cultural differences as a source of comedy, even farce, are usually the main reason for choosing to set the action of a novel in a foreign country. But everything that happens here could surely just as easily have happened in Brighton, or Birmingham. To make things worse, the simplest French phrases (‘c’est normal’, ‘en vacances’, ‘à tout à l’heure’) are misspelt.
But incisive, original language is hardly one of the book’s strengths either. The dialogue is flat and repetitive, and mistakes such as the consistent use of ‘lay’ instead of ‘lie’(‘He’s sleeping soundly and as I lay there...’, plus countless other examples, given that there’s a fair amount of lying - and laying -) are extremely irritating. Awkward sentences such as ‘I push the mouse gently away from me, delicately, bomb-like’ give the disconcerting impression that the narrator himself is being compared to an explosive... The punctuation of the dialogue is excessively slapdash and sometimes very misleading. The unexpected use of figures (‘I start seeing Catherine 6 months after I split up with Jenny’, like the ‘50’ of the title) is equally disorientating.
So is this really a book ‘which will reset the boundaries for gay literature’, as one of its reviewers trumpets on the back-cover? More importantly, does it really qualify as a novel? Another reviewer speaks of a “collection of vignettes”, and that is surely much nearer the mark. Occasionally the reader comes across something more profound and serious: “I know that all relationships start with the search for similarity, I also know that they all end with the affirmation of difference.” Such a remark, although thrown in rather gratuitously ten pages before the end, is entirely worth pondering. But on the whole, this book reads like a diary rather than a novel.
On the whole, then, definitely not a milestone in gay literature. If you do read this, read Patrick Gale as well, and draw your conclusions.
Mark (the protagonist) draws you in to his life and its easy to feel that you know him already because he really is a reflection of all of us.
Try this book, buy this book.....Loved it.