Friday 31 August 2007

A Masterpiece

Gents by Warwick Collins

What do you do when someone tells you that a book is a lost classic, a masterpiece of modern literature, a telling parable of racial and sexual tolerance? What do you do if they then send you a copy of the book, for free?

Well you read it obviously.

And you hope as your reading it that it won't disappoint after all that build up.

I needn't have worried. Gents is fantastic. It tells the story of Ezekiel Murphy, a West Indian immigrant, who starts a job as a toilet attendant. Shocked to see two men leaving the same cubicle one day, his fellow workers Josiah and Jason explain the problem with 'cottaging'. Put under pressure by the council to stop these activities the men work together to regain control of 'the swamp'. When their plans succeed and their livelihood is threatened they are forced to look at themselves in a new light.

The book is slim and made up of short chapters but, as with many other great books, there is nothing extraneous. It's like eating a rich desert, every word is important and the novel totally fulfilling. The dialogue is perfectly observed and it is amazing to see so much character created with so little. It is the kind of effortless writing that keeps me a reader for the moment rather than a writer and I can only thank Scott Pack at The Friday Project for bringing it to my attention.

The book is officially published on 7th September and you can buy copies here.

I also recommend Scott's blog which you can find here. It's filled with all sorts but mainly lots of marvellous books.


John Self 4 September 2007 at 18:59  

Wise words. I reviewed it here earlier this year and found my review quoted on the back cover of the new edition!

William Rycroft 5 September 2007 at 11:50  

Just read your review John. Very wise words. And how nice to have them on the book itself!

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