This continues my series of posts on great gay literature by contemporary authors…
We meet a boy about to jump to his death, then a strange voice swears it will save the world, the universe, and…you? Who is you though? The boy? His life flashes before the reader’s eyes, from birth to when he… We can’t say that.. Why? Because the end of this story depends on you, the reader…
In the meantime, we penetrate deep into the boy’s life, into his dreams, his nightmares, his hallucinations induced by drugs, but also into his soul: his desperate need to be one of the lads fighting with his need to be himself, a submissive and gay boy, which he denies to himself. His sexual experiences, sometimes narrated with the icy cold of the toilets where they take place, sometimes with the poetic magic of his dreams and passion; his great loves, his confusion between friendship and love, but, above all, his angst and insecurity.
Whether the much talked about ‘letters’ to his great love, My Dear, which conclude every chapter, are real or letters to an imaginary friend, they take place in his ‘alternative’ life, the future only the reader can give him, his life in a gay night club in London.
This novel is hypnotic, very unusual, daring and extremely innovative. The style sways between curt realism and total surrealism, the perspective changes between the outside world and the boy’s subconscious with unbelievable ease and beauty.
If there is a rising star in the pantheon of literature, gay or not, this is for sure The Road to London, already described as a ‘gay classic’, ‘the future of literature’, ‘profoundly original’ and ‘one of the greatest and darkest’ novels ever…by critics, reviewers and other writers.
There are speculations that this novel has been entered for no less than the Man Booker Prize, after critics, in an unusual move, have been asking for it to be submitted for the most prestigious prize in literature. Although I am not privy to this, it appears that the publishers, Mirador, seem to be nodding with assent. It clearly is Booker material; and wouldn’t it be great to finally have a gay-themed novel as a Booker Prize (finalist)? For sure it has left so many readers impressed and blown over…if you don’t read it, it’s your loss… It is an incredible experience. This is a ‘different’ book, but really beautiful and touching.
Although it would be a fallacy to say now, in its early stages, what the impact of this novel is, it is clear from its intrinsic and impressive literary value that this is a book with the potential to influence not just gay literature, but literature as a whole, a bit like The Color Purple has done from the ‘lesbian literary corner’ of our bookshelves.
I forgot…the name of this boy? We never find out…