Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
Quality, depth, humour
on 9 April 2011
Wow, so good to see the good get even better!
I really enjoyed reading the previous two books in this series and would recommend that you read them first to fully appreciate the evolution of their storytelling and the life and loves of Mark, the central character, although this book stands up as a gripping tale (& more!) in its own right. To use the term 'character' for Mark is really too flat because Nick Alexander has brought his 'characters' to life as real people you care about, are interested in and confused by like those in our own lives.
There is so much humour, poignancy and depth here. It's so well written that the depth isn't clumsily worthy and, if that really isn't your thing, the adventure will engage and grip you anyway. For me it's a delight (I always end up overusing that word with Nick's books) to get it all, woven like rich music that touches, saddens and gladdens the heart without being pious or pretentious pomp. For me and, I hope, for others, the meaning(s) of quality strike at the heart of lives today, way beyond the outer notion of self sufficiency and (unfortunately, for me, banal) TV 'The Good Life'. It's to do with our relationship with ourselves, others, the world - challenging, nourishing food for thought. That's there if you want it - a subtle, rare gem within the rich tapestry of the story.
There is some detail that isn't revealed in the story which frustrated me a little yet, paradoxically, also seemed right given that what was more important, something of what had been hidden within Tom, Mark's partner is. As in real life, some of the pieces in the jigsaw that make him who he is fall into place but, again, like real life, that doesn't mean a definitive conclusion...
Nick Alexander has broadened the genre that was pretty much exclusively Armistead Maupin's. He brings his own unique talents to his books. They have touching humanity and humour, like those of Maupin, mystery, coincidences too yet more closely recognisable, perhaps truer to our own (British/European?) lives with the willingness for things to be less neat. Anyhow - no need for the books to compete - I enjoy the writing of both authors.
Some dark events in the book are more extreme than in the previous ones but, paradoxically, not necessarily less true to life as I experienced something scary, not totally dissimilar in France back in 1978.
There are descriptions of gay sex that might not be to the taste of some, just as such descriptions of straight sex might be to me but it isn't gratuitous and, yet again, I hope this book will reach an wide audience that includes gay men but also extends far beyond - it certainly deserves it.
PS Yet again, scandalously inexpensive - I enjoyed this book so much that I feel as if I want to buy another copy!