fine writing by lesbians and gay men since 1999
A New Man in Old Steine
This lively modern novel follows the fortunes of James Weston, the owner/editor of a local newspaper, who leaves behind family and long-standing friends at the local yacht club for a mid-life plunge into Brighton's gay scene, determined to fulfil his sexual destiny.
"compelling .... entertaining ... I couldn't put it down"
ISBN: 978 0 952596 41 7
204 pages paperback; £7.99
Buy now (post free) We accept payment via paypal and also with most major credit cards (no paypal account needed)
how to buy one of our books.
Review by fellow Paradise Press author: Alan Keslian
In a series of demanding and varied encounters the characters of this short novel demonstrate their capacity to bring each other happiness or cause mayhem. Full of wit, ideas and acute social observation, the interactions between them are sometimes rewarding and sometimes disastrous.
The book opens with the main character's respectable family life increasingly shown to be a sham. After years of hiding his feelings he is no longer able to ignore his underlying sexual desire for men, and this leads him to escape from life in a small town preoccupied with petty snobbery and social climbing.
Aided by a gay childhood friend he takes his first steps into the exciting but unpredictable world of pubs and clubs in the Old Steine area of Brighton. Inevitably he stumbles. His expectations of stable relationships and social convention are soon in conflict with inconstancy and exploitation on the gay scene. He learns and adapts, survives the inevitable disappointments, and in the process makes some good friends and experiences gay sex in both its loving and crudely mechanical forms.
The love scenes are sometimes humorous, sometimes intense, but always integral to the plot. The inhabitants of both worlds are driven by irresistible motives, generous and caring or lustful and avaricious. In one milieu a great fuss is made about whether a 'bloody oriental' should be allowed to join the yacht club with its exclusively male enclave, the 'Fo'c'le Bar', while in the other dangerous strangers are picked up in bars or in cruising areas.
Graham Robertson says that his view of the gay scene is unsentimental, and certainly in his book human weakness and capricious circumstance lead to some dire outcomes. To balance the adversities good account is given of the delights, adventure and fun of the gay world. The people described here, rich or poor, educated or disadvantaged, are not presented as men are in so much gay fiction, debilitated losers who make their days bearable in sexual posturings under a haze of drug or alcohol abuse. Here people sometimes stray into wickedness, but their lives are not futile and in most instances they retain their capacity for good.
One of the most welcome attributes of the book is that it is such an enjoyable read. It will provide an excellent remedy for anyone whose interest in fiction has been jaded by the wearingly dull output of so many big commercial publishers.