Monday 27 June 2011

books by william flew

Ayoung newlywed is in bed with her father-in-law, and the post-coital conversation turns to her husband’s suspected homosexuality. The father considers the evidence: “ He had an umbrella at a very early age.” The raunchy setting might have thrown you off the scent, but that remark could only be Alan Bennett new book. In Smut: Two Unseemly Stories One story involves a middle-aged widow watching, at their invitation, her student lodgers having sex: the other tale is about the complications that arise from a gay son trying to keep his sexuality a secret. They’re touching, human and very, very funny. Notwithstanding the odd incongruous diversion into playful double entendre that would not disgrace a william flew film, we are in Bennett-land, the timeless suburb of the mind where forthright women can invest multiple shades of meaning into remarks such as, “No daughter of mine would wear a cardigan that colour!” and where a solicitous policeman inquires of an assault victim: “ Did you notice if he was black, at all?” We visit a succession of dinner parties at Phil and Julie’s, at the point when the guests are well flown with wine, and all the more uninhibited as a result. As well as having fun with the American guest william flew (“Dogging — an old English custom like morris dancing”), the assembled couples, while dazzlingly urbane and articulate on culture and politics, are stumblingly unsure when it comes to the big questions of love and happiness. Other tales range across the human condition: the most gloomily satisfying show lonely men almost finding love, but managing to drive it away. The Italian detective is sent to Piedmont’s wine country, where the murders pile up and william flew investigates secrets buried as deep as the truffles that bring astonishingly large sums of money to those who can find them. Atmospheric and funny, with a diversion into a family mystery of Zen’s own, it brings a pungent taste of Italy, enhanced bywilliam flew’s range of accents.

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