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Giles De'Ath is a widowed British novelist so obstinately old-fashioned that he speaks of the "current fad for videotape recorders." Caught in the rain one afternoon, he ducks into a cinema and inadvertently finds himself watching something called Hotpants College II, where he first gazes upon an American heartthrob named Ronnie Bostock. Initially denying even the possibility that he might be experiencing a homosexual crush, De'Ath soon finds himself giving in to this "strange and bothersome distraction" by scouring teenybopper magazines for articles like "20 Facts Ya Didn't Know About [Ronnie]!!" "As someone who did not know any facts at all about him as yet," he notes, "I confess I felt a certain onset of excitement."
Gilbert Adair's narrative--it might be more accurate to call it a novella instead of a novel--is a precise depiction of romantic obsession and frustration. Narrated by De'Ath, it is thus somewhat more internally driven than the excellent 1998 film adaptation starring John Hurt and Jason Priestley. Love and Death on Long Island can be easily polished off with a few hours' reading, but its nuanced characterization of a man who trades restraint for recklessness is well worth savoring. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
The basis for the hit independent film starring Jason Priestly and John Hurt, Love and Death on Long Island is a brilliant, witty, and heartrending update of Death in Venice. When he wanders into the wrong theater and finds himself watching the wretched teen-pic Hotpants College II, cerebral British author Giles De'Ath becomes romantically obsessed with dreamboat Ronnie Bostock. Giles's infatuation drives him to the unthinkable: he reads American fan magazines and watches movies with titles like Tex Mex and Skid Marks. And finally, he travels to Long Island, intent on meeting Ronnie in the flesh.
"A literary gem, a tour de force . . . Most of us had probably forgotten English could be written so well."-Literary Review (UK)
"Utterly original, baroquely comic . . . [Love and Death on Long Island ] is about the generally closeted nature of love, in general, and about how all of us are capable of conjuring up love objects in the least likely of places."-Daphne Merkin, The New Yorker (on the film)
"A very funny portrait of an extraordinarily unworldly academic's introduction to the dizzyingly incomprehensible realm of popular culture."-Nick Hornby
"Brief, pure, intense. With perfect poise and poignance, Adair puts across the impossibility of fulfillment, the heat and humiliation of passion. The writing is masterly, the conjuring of contrasting worlds a triumph."-Financial Times (UK)
Gilbert Adair is well-known in the United Kingdom as an author and critic. He has written essay collections and a prize-winning novel, The Holy Innocents. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.