Friday, November 25, 2005
Venus as a Boy
Had to write a quick note about this book. A young man grows up on South Ronaldsay in Orkney suffering bullying and abuse. He slowly becomes aware of his singular gift which is to give people the kind of sexual experience that makes them see angels. He embarks upon a journey to the mainland and through Scotland ending up in London working as a hustler. The story is told from his point of view at what we know is the end of his life. He tells the story while he he is inexorably turning to gold, inside and out - a precious metal, but in this case also deadly. The book is short, compact and beautiful. The magic realist touches are extremely subtle and underplayed and even in the turning to gold I had the feeling that it might still possibly be a description of disease wrongly interpreted by the narrator. Whether writing about Orkney or London, the tone is evenly sharp, lyrical and balanced between beauty and horror. Truly a haunting book (with a beautiful cover).