From the acclaimed writer and “one of our preeminent humorists” (The New York Times) Paul Rudnick, a riotously funny, perceptive, and life-affirming novel following the decades-long, rule-breaking romance between the son of one of American’s wealthiest families and a middle-class aspiring author.
Devastatingly handsome and insanely rich, Farrell Covington is capable of anything and impossible to resist. He’s a clear-eyed romantic, an aesthete but not a snob, self-indulgent yet wildly generous. As the son of one of the country’s most powerful and deeply conservative families, the world could be his. But when he falls for Nate Reminger, an aspiring writer from a nice Jewish family in Piscataway, New Jersey, the results are passionate and catastrophic.
Together, the two embark on a uniquely managed romance that spans half a century. They are inseparable—except for the many years when they are apart. Moving from the ivy-covered bastion of Yale to New York City, Los Angeles, and eventually all over the world, Farrell and Nate experience the tremendous upheaval and social change of the last fifty years. From the freedom of gay life in 1970s Manhattan to the Hollywood closet, the AIDS epidemic, and the profound strides of the LGBTQ+ movement, this witty and moving novel shows how the world changes around us while we’re busy doing other things. A story of chances lost and found (and sometimes just temporarily misplaced), with an epic reach, it reminds us that there is always the possibility of undiluted, unbridled, unstoppable happiness, if, as Farrell says, “You know where to look.” Style has its limits, love does not.
First let me say that I am a white heterosexual woman and that I will do my best not to offend anyone in this review but if that happens because of my ignorance of some code or language, I am deeply sorry and know that it’s not my intent at all!
That being out of the way, let’s delve into that astonishing, satiric, probably truthful too, moving and at many times shocking and very gay story.
I had no idea who Paul Rudnick was and only looked up for him after finishing this story. That being done, I guess that I can say that “he knows what he wrote about” and that what I have learned here was the truth or at least, a version of the truth.
And let me tell you that I am very happy to live in a country and at a time where LGBTQ+ rights and people are vastly respected. I might complain about our government, taxes and all but one thing is true, you can live your sexuality and claim your gender without being ostracized or shunned, at least by the majority of the population (you’ll always have people disagreeing).
What Farrell and Nate, had to go through was at times horrifying and profoundly unjust. Yet both persevered, determined to find their happiness and to be together whatever the world thought of it.
This story embarked me on decades of gay life following Farrell and Nate’s journey from 1970 to noawadays.
Farrell Covington’s family is insanely rich and conservative. He is beauty incarnate and very gay, to the utter dismay and rage of his own parents. I envisioned him like a sinful angel, someone you could not resist, whose beauty drew everyone in. He was also deeply eccentric and talked about himself and gay life in very dramatic and extravagant fashion. Farrell was larger than life.
When he’ll meet Nate Reminger at Yale, they’ll fall for each other and will never recover. Even if throughout the book both will have other lovers, even when they were together.
That’s the part I had to adjust as I don’t like “sharing” or “cheating” in books but that was not what it was. It was more a sexually open but romantically closed relationship.
In other words: it was ok to share his body with other partners but their heart and souls were just for each other.
Nate was from a humble family, not out of the closet at the beginning of the book. Contrary to Farrell’s parents, Nate’s will be very supportive and will even welcome Farrell as their own son. That was a welcome respite from all the ugliness most people threw at gay people in these days.
Between Farrell’s family plot to separate our lovers, visit to the very gay New York with extremely hot scenes in BDSM clubs, trip to LA where Hollywood still wants you to pretend that you are heterosexual to play in its blockbusters and back to New York when AIDS or “the gay plague” hit hard and decimated a population, leaving every gay people in a state of fright but defiance, we covered lots of gay and LGBTQ story.
Seen through Nate and Farrell’s eyes and helped with a very solid cast of side characters, that book made me smile, cringe, laugh, cry and fear. It made me want to scream too when confronted with the intolerance of people who pretends to be “good Christians”.
Nate and Farrell’s friends: Jackson the costume designer, Ariadne fierce and formidable lesbian, Jesse heterosexual, aspiring actress and daughter of a famous actress and Sally, all prim and proper with a heart of gold raised this book to the next level. They were the sounding board upon which Farrell and Nates could rely on in their time of need.
I don’t know how to end this review as I have many thoughts and feelings for this book. I’ll just say that it deserves to be read and better known. It is a must read for gay and LGBTQ history.
Last word: the narrator Daniel Henning did once again a fantastic job narrating that story.
Thanks for reading.