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Watmough, David.

Oakville (Ont.), Mosaic Press, 1987. 148pp. paper, ISBN 0-88962-363-5 (cloth) $17.95, 0-88962-362-7 (paper) $8.95. CIP

Reviewed by Barbara J. Graham

Volume 16 Number 4
1988 July

Davey Bryant, the ongoing protagonist in Watmough's novels, is now living in San Francisco in 1953 during the McCarthy era. To Bryant, first working in the Stanford library, later "front man" in an unusual bookstore, and finally journalist, the world seen through his ironic, slightly paranoid homosexual eyes has gone mad.

Relationships with friends, the parents of friends, and transitory lovers are uneasy and dissatisfying. Being both British and gay increases his outsider's satirical viewpoint. Quotations from the 1953 press act as a counterpoint to physical and emotional situations in Davey's personal life.

The human pictures painted are not pretty in a world that has gone awry. Against the beauty of natural landscape and romantic scenery, the human story is one of disloyalty, unfaithfulness, distorted values, and unnatural happenings. By the conclusion of this one year, Davey has consummated a homosexual passion, tried an unsatisfactory heterosexual relationship with a dipsomaniac girlfriend, and has finally made the decision to remain faithful to his lover Ken, who remains in Paris.

This is mature, adult reading with graphic sexual passages that preclude its inclusion in most high school libraries. Watmough writes well and shows a compassionate understanding of his characters. But Davey can relate to living only through the homosexual perspective.

Barbara J. Graham, Board of Education for the City of London, London, Ont.
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