If you suffer from homophobia, misogyny, a mind numbing loathing of middle class hypocrisy, or just want to smile at the human condition then this small purchase is just the thing.
Angus Wilson is cut from the same cloth as Kingsley Amis, Evelyn Waugh and Max Beerbohm. This author was first suggested to me by my English mentor forty years ago and the ensuing years have done little to diminish its impact.
Unlike much of "gay" literature of the past twenty five years, Mr. Wilson describes a life style that has been trivialized recently. Of course a caveat is in order here. This book is about middle class English attitudes which we Yanks will have to adjust to. To be brief, a cure for homophobia - well Bernard Sands is not what would normally be expected by an American audience. He is married, has fathered a family, and with a tacit and unremarked consent of his wife, has lived a dual life. It is only at the end of the book that he chooses one. And I feel he is happy with the past as well as the future.
Ella his wife is not the betrayed harridan, nor the suffering saint. Her love for her husband in all its aspects is amply illustrated and explains most of her past actions and present day stances. By heavens they still do lovingly respect each other.
Of course Angus Wilson satirizes the British middle as only a Britain can do, even though he is Scottish. He captures the times so endearingly well. Would the establishment of a student-artist hostel cause such a uproar today? Read it for the host of characters that have such a ring of authenticity that you will believe you know them personally.
A rare complex wine that gets better with age.