Paul Lemoyne is a lower class, under educated young man in 1930s England. After a row with his alcoholic father, Paul leaves home and enters the cruel, merciless pre-WW2 streets of London and lands a job as a stage-hand at The Palace of Varieties.
Im sorry to admit that I did not enjoy this book as I have all the others. As a fan of Lear's work I am going to really push the positive and say the book is well written. The prose flows nicely and the story is easy to follow. Lear's eroticism -while not entirely as cleaver and creative as his other works -still manages to raise an eyebrow or two. In particular I enjoyed Paul's encounter with Trevor in Chapter 4, the meeting with Albert Abbott in Chapter 6 also the "snuggery" in Chapter 6 was pretty cool. However, in a nutshell, the book was boring. Usually when I read Lear I am flying in another world and moving fast through erotic, witty, intelligent humor and fascinating characters. In The Palace of Varieties I felt like I was being dragged along with nothing going on. Until I got to Chapter 8. The story should be called the Palace of Herringham, once we meet this artist in the brothel the story took off in a Learesque Masterpiece. Once I got here I couldn't put the book down. Every character from Chapter 8 and on was amazing. The story went from funny, to tragic, to romantic, to heart breaking. Then it was uplifting and exciting and moving and erotic and just perfect. I loved the bit of romance in the end and suddenly I understood that this was a delightful coming of age story. An adventure all its own and once again comparing Lear to de Sade, this story reminded me of the books "Justine" and "Julliet".