Two Gentlemen Sharing–William Corlett

This novel is an absolute delight.  Two gay men move into an estate house in a little English village and all hell breaks loose as the village’s dynamics begin to shift.  Rich is a middle-aged producer who has shared a flat with Laurence, an old-school closeted poof.  Rich’s young lover, Bless, is an aspiring actor who has given it all up to keep house in the village.  Bless’ best friend, Maggie, is a busty, crude, aspiring actress who loves to help Bless antagonize Laurence.

Bless and Rich move in next to a crusty old veteran and his mousy wife, the Brigadier and Rosemary Jerrold.  Rosemary’s oppressive marriage is relieved by visits from her mysterious sister-in-law, Phyllis.  The Brigadier declares war on the poofs.

Diana Simpson has joined a feminist commune in France that she found advertised in a feminist journal.  She returns to the village under the cover and darkness being chased by a hypersexual Italian count, who runs his car into the gatepost of Bless and Rich’s home.  Diana takes cover from the count and his crazed lesbian sister, Carlotta, in Bless’ summer house and the romp begins.

Add an aged ballerina, a pushy housekeeper and her pushy village shop-0wning sister, a vicar and his depressed wife, two bored middle-class housewives and their boring husbands, and life gets interesting.  Add the fact that Phyllis is the Brigadier’s cross-dressing alter ego and you have all the ingredients for comedy.

Corlett builds his memorable characters through rapid dialogue that takes place in the zany (yes, I just said zany) scenes in which he places his characters.

I thought this would be an amusing novel for this middle-aged Anglophile.  It was so much more.  This is Corlett’s second novel.  I’m on a mission to find his first.

Finished 12/12/11

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