Top positive review
A long way from Boredom
on 4 October 2012
The Drop Out swaps the middle-eastern setting of Shaikh-Down for the English seaside and tempers the bawdy humour of David Gee's earlier book with a black and bleak humour. At the beginning of the novel the main protagonist, Paul, has decided to drop out of uni and return to his home town, which he calls Boredom-on-sea. He soon finds this to be a misnomer as it proves to be a fertile ground for his rampant sexual urges. When he lands a job as a salesman in his uncle's furniture business,he is swept up in an odyssey of lust and sudden untimely deaths.
Part I is narrated in the first person from Paul's point of view. The racy and frank description of his social and sexual encounters are convincing as we see his need for love commuted by events into a blind pursuit of his heterosexual teenage hormonal urges. These erotic encounters take place in the context of Paul's guilt about a homosexual friend's suicide and remorse at his sexual preying on a young American girl at uni. The perspective shifts in Part II which uses the third person to narrate several 'tales' about characters central to Paul's life in Boredom-on-sea. It uses back stories to explain the behaviour and motivation of these characters and backtracks over parts of the narrative covered in Part I before edging the plot forward. If the detail of this part of the book seems overwhelming and a little distracting, the writing is assured and the technique can be seen as a way of representing the complexities of twentieth century relationships.
After Paul's immersion in a gamut of heterosexual experiences, and a reluctant sampling of subsequently discarded homosexuality, all is neatly wrapped up in a short and reflective Part III which returns us to Paul's voice once again. His experiences finally force him to take control of his destiny, face up to the real implications of his past exploits and acknowledge where his true priorities lie.