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The Palace of Varieties [Paperback]

James Lear
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 28 2008

An outrageous sexual adventure set in 1930s London from the author of The Low Road. We follow Paul Lemoyne on a rake's progress, from low-life prostitution at the stage door of the Palace of Varieties to the salons and studios of Mayfair; from the bath-houses of Bermondsey to the rarefied circles of modern art. And behind it all lurks the mysterious figure of Albert Abbott, his lover, corrupter and Svengali.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
1934: I turn eighteen... Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Bawdy, squalid and irreverent, James Lear's sexually graphic novel transports us to London of 1935 and into the life of eighteen-year-old Paul Lemoyne, a waif and wild child whose fleshy adventures play out amongst the rarefied world of music halls, train stations, public toilets and the sordid back alleys of South London. Escaping an abusive and alcoholic father, who cannot help but conceal his shame beneath a pitiful display of hostility ,Paul escapes from Sussex and hops on a train to London from Sussex.

Although Paul has very little education, he possesses a fierce natural intelligence; it's not surprising then that he is able to secures employment as a stage hand at the South London Palace of Varieties, a bawdy and ramshackle music hall, smelling heavily of unwashed bodies, cigarette smoke and perfume. Under the tutelage of Mr. Nicholas Holly the General Manager, Paul begins his services in this grand life of hard physical labor, that involves clambering around scaffolds and sweeping the stage, and also allowing Holly to give Paul oral satisfaction when Holly so desires it.

But it is in the gentleman's cloakroom in Waterloo station which really cements Paul's career as a procurer of male needs, where one can "wash and brush-up for a sixpence" and where at the urinal involving two young gents in identical black suits, Paul has his first true sleazy experience where he also gets to earn his first crown. Soon enough Paul's consumed with the idea of getting sex wherever and with whoever he can, becoming a master of this extracurricular work.
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I really recommend this book if your familiar with James Lear writings after page of descriptive sex...The story is simple and entertaining....The character is despicable and like get to understand him and his adventures....truly gay
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Un excellent roman érotique July 5 2003
Nous sommes en 1934 et la grande dépression économique bat son plein à Londres. Paul Lemoyne, un jeune homme issue d'un milieu des plus pauvre, tente par tous les moyens de s'extirper de sa condition mais sans grand succès. C'est alors qu'il se fait embaucher au Palace of Varieties - l'équivalent de notre Théâtre des nouveautés, à Montréal, au début du siècle - et réalise rapidement que s'offre à lui des options beaucoup plus lucratives pour se constituer rapidement un capital.
Il se jette rapidement, et pour son grand plaisir (ainsi que le notre), dans les bras de la prostitution. Mais Paul est un peu étourdie et dépense sans compter. Il se retrouve rapidement dans l'épineuse situation où il doit rembourser rapidement des dettes astronomiques et, malgré son talent indéniable, il ne peut suffire à la besogne.
C'est alors qu'il rencontre le mystérieux Albert Abbott qui l'engage dans son « écurie » et lui permet de s'élever rapidement au-dessus de sa condition. Mais Paul éprouve un sentiment trouble face à ce dernier : une haine tenace entremêlé d'une fascination indéniable. Qui se cache derrière ce visage glacial mais indéniablement séducteur ?
Un roman érotique des plus réussi dans lequel le lecteur se trouvera plongé dans des scènes plus excitantes les unes que les autres. Pour une fois, l'auteur nous offre également des personnages relativement complexes auxquels on s'intéresse réellement et qui incite à poursuivre plus avant la lecture. Le récit se clôt à l'aube de la deuxième guerre mondiale et annonce une suite que l'on ne peut attendre qu'avec impatience.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, Naysayers Feb. 13 2009
By Lilyrose - Published on
I love James Lear, his other books, and this one, too. Too much sex? Read something else. Disgusting scenes? My absolute favorites. To each his own, and I'm glad I own this book. Thank you, Mr. Lear.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written! Lots ofVarieties!! Oct. 17 2006
By Jane - Published on
Great story that moves along smoothly. Well-developed characters with lots of variety of sex. Just the right splash of emotions an angst of lead character who is 18 at time of story. Very easy to read with lots of gay sex! Lear captures the emotions and changing situations of our hero and has interesting characters that come along for the ride. "Excuse the pun!" I wasn't disppointed.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Homo-eroticism at it's very best... Feb. 4 2011
By BennThere - Published on
aw heck, who am I kidding? "Homo-eroticism" my tail; it's hot sex! Intelligently and also beautifully written this novel does NOT disappoint on ANY level. I'll be buying ALL of James Lear works now, along with a "Do Not Disturb" sign to go on my door. Keep it coming Sir! My ONLY regret, is that Palace Of Varieties is not MY autobiography.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Coming of Age Story? Aug. 16 2010
By Aryael de Kaprii - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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".
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars palace of varieties Nov. 2 2009
By Jack L. Meyer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this such an excellent book that I cannot wait to read the rest of James Lear's other books.
He is an interesting story teller with some nice twists in plot. And it is also at times very erotic.
A good lead character.
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