Friday, August 20, 2010

Adam Mars-Jones

Continuing my habit of reading novels only years after they're published (and available in second-hand bookstores), I've just finished Adam Mars-Jones magnum opus, Pilcrow. It's the story of young, then not so young, John Cromer, a severely handicapped English boy who is institutionalized in first a Red Cross hospital, then a castle-like school for the disabled. John is bright, funny, and usually astutely aware of what's happening around him though he can hardly affect any of it.

What complicates matters further is that John understands, from very early on, that he is attracted to men. He manages to act on his desire, depsite his and his partners' compromised physical abilities. No one before Mars-Jones has described homosexuality and incapacity is quite this way-- without sentimentality, or pathos. The book is a bit long, and better at the beginning, but it confirms my view of the author as one of our best.

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