Paperback review

Published in The Telegraph, 12/01/13

Jack Holmes and his Friend by Edmund White

Edmund White’s subtle portrait of gay libertine Jack Holmes and his straight best friend, Will, is a sophisticated examination of two selves that has as much to say about essential human desires as about 60s sexual mores. The novel follows the eponymous duo from their first meeting as writers in early 60s New York until the onset of Aids, charting their relationship as it’s shaped by unrequited love, aesthetic failure and the flowering, then foreclosing, of sexual revolution. Jack Holmes and His Friend achieves a greater clarity and a deeper empathy than White’s previous novel A Boy’s Own Story, and for these grown-up virtues it is worthy reading.