Paul Golding lives in London. This is his first novel.
Already a hit among British literary critics, Golding's debut novel is a fluently written but ultimately hollow, pretentious tale of emotional isolation, disconnection and spiritual malaise. Its protagonist, Santiago Moore Zamora, is a witheringly caustic, tragically hip, cosmopolitan homosexual of mixed Spanish and English parentage, who can't seem to form a meaningful relationship with any of the (many) men that he meets. He endeavors, earnestly, to figure out how he's become such an angry, embittered soul, reflecting first upon a pampered but stultifying childhood in Spain, and then upon his horrendous formative years at an unnamed exclusive English boarding school. Never having received the kind of emotional support and sustenance that he desperately craved from his shallow, self-involved parents, the young Santiago goes groping blindly for love and friendship within his new environs, with eminently disturbing results. He loses his virginityÄat the age of nineÄto Mr. Wolfe, a schoolteacher who adamantly asserts that he's not gay, only bisexual, and who proves to be even more needy and clinging than Santiago himself. Much of the rest of the novel, which concerns Santiago's subsequent dalliance with his music teacher, Dr. Fox, and his eventual, agonizing betrayal by his best friend, Louis Clifford Cross, seems intent upon exploring the manner in which the arrogant benightedness of the "straight" world and the catty superficiality of chic gay society tend to make life hellish for sensitive, discerning homosexuals. Golding's themes may be intriguing, but his presentation is disjointed, lacking in psychological resonance and emotional clarity. Santiago Moore Zamora emerges as a tiresome, smugly unsympathetic figure, whose tragic alienation seems little more than his just desserts. Reader's Subscription, Insightout (Bookspan's new gay and lesbian book club) selections. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Santiago Moore Zamora's life has been one of loneliness and isolation. Raised by nannies and deprived of love from his preoccupied and self-absorbed parents, he has his first taste of devotion as the nine-year-old lover of a young teacher at his English boarding school before graduating to an older rector. When the teachers' misdeeds come to light, the ensuing scandal nearly results in Iago's expulsion. Iago's slender bond with his parents is completely shattered; as the book ends, we see him still looking for love through a rent-boy he invites to his flat. Golding's undeniable gift for descriptive, florid language (often to convey some pretty distasteful things) may obscure the fact that at the core this is a pretty anemic mixture of schoolboys in disgrace with family soap opera on the sidelines. Though it is being hailed as an important new gay novel, gay men may well resent the simplistic situations and the novel's ineffectual hero. Buy according to demand.ÄMarc Kloszewski, Indiana Free Lib., PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"Stunning, angrily intelligent. . . . Paul Golding [is] a writer to reckon with." --The New York Times Book Review
"An astonishing, heart-rending tour de force." --Pat Barker "Beautiful and profane. . . . [Golding's] brittle wisdom is difficult to dismiss." --San Francisco Chronicle "Stylish, clever, experimental, ambitious, urbane." -Times Literary Supplement