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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 May 2017
One of the funniest books I've ever read.
I've been recommending it to anyone who will listen
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on 8 November 2001
Its wonderful that this book will be back in print again soon. It is a delicious romp and one of the few books that genuinely made me laugh out loud. A great debut novel, it shows how a gay man gets caught up in an elaborate swindle by getting married for the gifts.
The plot thickens as it is suspected that Gils stepfather is a member of a mafia family. Things go from bad to worse as the tale of lies and deceit gathers. I dare you not to secretly love Moira and her scheming ways, or the fabulous Vulpina!
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on 10 October 2005
Joe Keenan is the genius responsible for many, if not all, of the best episodes of Frasier - The Matchmaker, The Two Mrs Cranes, The Ski Lodge, Out With Dad, The Doctor Is Out... basically this guy is a master of farce construction.
And this book is in the same tradition. The plotting is extraordinary. The jokes are stunning. You know those books where the back cover says 'Laugh out loud funny' which means there is a mildly amusing bit of wordplay on page 28? Well, this book isn't like that. It genuinely is laugh out loud material, though it's more snort out loud, whoop out loud and guffaw out loud.
How would I describe the book? It's like PG Wodehouse - it has the same easy breeziness - but with more sex and drugs.
I don't normally write these review things but this book was so much fun I feel moved to stick my hand up and say, 'Hey, people, buy this, it's great.'
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on 14 November 1998
First novel of 'Frasier' writer Keenan, 'Blue Heaven' is wickedly bitchy and full of snappy remarks that you will groan not to have originated. Featuring the sham marriage (for the wedding presents) of gay Gilbert and shameless gold-digger Moira, this novel cranks up the tension and the hilarity exponentially as the couple frantically try to keep up a plausibly heterosexual front in the face of an army of bitter love-rivals and a mafia family feud.
Keenan delights in over-the-top characterisation that is at once ridiculous and recognisable: the ultra-enigmatic Vulpina, the mysterious 'Duchess of Dorsetshire', the acheingly-beautiful Paris Goldfarb (whose cheekbones 'could heal the sick'), the camp gossip Holly Batterman, and many more. Where Armistead Maupin compares himself to E.F. Benson, Keenan's mentor is quite clearly P.G. Wodehouse.
This book is like a christmas pudding: crammed with juicy rich fruits (pun intended), and so more-ish that you'll find yourself fighting to put it down in a desperate (and futile) attempt to eke its tastiness out.
Fortunately, there is an enjoyable sequel ('Putting on the Ritz'),and a short reprise in the gay anthology 'Men on Men 3', but 'Blue Heaven' is by far Keenan's funniest work to date. My favourite book.
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on 30 January 2002
Thank goodness this book is coming back into print - I lent my copy to someone who dropped it in the bath and then "lost" it! Hysterically funny .... the phrase "NOT THE GIFTS!" is right up there in my ranking of memorable literary phrases with "a handbag?" and "It is a truth universally acknowledged ..".
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on 23 August 1999
The plot is completely over-the-top: a most unlikely wedding, a pastiche duchess, the Mafia connection, the mobsters' favourite restauarnt, and a blow-out finale . . . you will be left breathless. But the characters are so vividly drawn and the dialogue is so scintillating that the incredible nature of the plot is barely an issue. It is easy to see where the dialogue of the "Frasier" television series comes from (same writer), although by comparison to "Blue Heaven", even the wackiest exchanges between Niles and Frasier seem tame . . . Read it for a laugh, but don't read it on public transport or anywehere else where you might embarrass yourself by sudden whelps of laughter.
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on 1 March 2001
i first discovered this book by chance about five years ago. ever since then i take it on holiday every time and read it at least once a year. last time i took it to the edinburgh festival and read it on the train home. i burst out luaghing time and again - the poeople next to me must have wondered what on earth i was reading! it is very funny. the characters are alive and plot fascinatingly twisty! it reminds me of my own exploits in london with my best friend steve (sorry steve you do remind me of gilbert selwyn). if you read one book this year, make it blu heaven by joe keenan; wonderfully refreshing and full of hope! nip to the loo beofre you go so you dont end up P. Y. Laughing!!! simon x
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on 21 June 2007
thank God I'm not the only person to have bought multiple copies of this book
I'm now on my fifth copy! I keep lending it to friends as an absolute "must read" and never see it back again as they've passed it on to yet more
this is one of the few books I've ever read that still makes me laugh out loud, with perfect prose that every camp queen, butch bear, fag hag or fashion diva (s)wishes they had on the tip of their tongue for the perfect riposte
featuring such perfect lines as:
Phillip: Well we could always call by your bank machine on the way
Gilbert: We could, but it would only be a social call.

Claire: She plays the piano marvellously for someone wearing mittens

and that's before you even get to the likes of Aggie, Moira, Vulpenis (sic) and who could forget the Duchess
read it! If you don't weep with laughter you'll pee yourself

though my favourite moment has to involve Serge, a machine gun and a sofa for protection- but I won't spoil it for you- you'll have to get a copy yourself
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on 8 November 2013
Narrator Philip Cavanagh's best friend and former lover Gilbert Selwyn and schemer Moira Finch decide to fake love marriage to exploit their step-parents, a mafia boss and an English lord respectively. Everything that can go wrong does in this zany, witty, fast-paced novel which is a breeze to read. It is a little too witty as befits the author who wrote for "Frasier", E F Benson, Noel Coward, P G Wodehouse and Saki knew better than to make every line a wisecrack. The characters are very broadly drawn, and the dialogue is described better than the action. Although penurious, these early nineties New York metrosexuals are not penniless and they live in a work where HIV does not seem to exist. It is not at all blue with all the sex rather coyly described. However it is all great fun and I shall read the sequel.
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on 20 May 2002
What a blast!! This book is SUCH a MUST READ - no review could ever do it justice. This and 'Putting on the Ritz' are, without exception, two of the best books i've ever read - and i've read a fair few in my time!!
Both books contain the same characters: the gay hero is kind of like an American charicature of Graham Norton but wilder, funnier and ruder. His straight best friend provides the perfect sarcastic foil and the scrapes those two land themselves in are hilarious. The plot is ridiculous verging on the sublime, the jokes and the dialogue are fast-paced and funny and the end ties up everything neatly. In short, a completely delicious and very satisfying read.
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