Jack Holmes and Will Wright arrive in New York in the calm before the storm of the 1960s. Coworkers at a cultural journal, they soon become good friends. Jack even introduces Will to the woman he will marry. But their friendship is complicated: Jack is also in love with Will.Read more...
Jack Holmes and Will Wright arrive in New York in the calm before the storm of the 1960s. Coworkers at a cultural journal, they soon become good friends. Jack even introduces Will to the woman he will marry. But their friendship is complicated: Jack is also in love with Will. Troubled by his subversive longings, Jack sees a psychiatrist and dates a few women, while also pursuing short-lived liaisons with other men. But in the two decades of their friendship, from the first stirrings of gay liberation through the catastrophe of AIDS, Jack remains devoted to Will. And as Will embraces his heterosexual sensuality, nearly destroying his marriage, the two men share a newfound libertinism in a city that is itself embracing its freedom.
Moving among beautifully delineated characters in a variety of social milieus, Edmund White brings narrative daring and an exquisite sense of life's submerged drama to this masterful exploration of friendship, sexuality, and sensibility during a watershed moment in history.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-01-23
- Reviewer: Staff
In his latest novel, National Book Critics Circle award winner White (Genet: A Life) presents Jack Holmes, an unambitious editorial assistant at a cultural journal and Midwestern WASP who is initially conflicted by homosexuality and an unrequited fascination with co-worker Will Wright, a Catholic blueblood and aspiring novelist. White leaves little room to empathize with either character as they separately wind through frank sexual encounters during the ‘60s and ‘70s; their ambivalent relationship, which is eventually marked by collusion over adultery, emerges as one of self-centered though occasionally tender intentions. A plot that glosses over several intervening years to narrate from Will’s perspective in the second part and later returns to Jack in the third culminates in a mention of GRID (a protonym for AIDS)—a moment that serves more as a device to lead both men out of their “libertine” behavior within the span of a few sentences than as an historic, serious event worthy of reflection—best-suited for fans of White’s previous work, as well as readers intrigued by complex friendships. (Jan.)