London Triptych

London Triptych Jack Rose Begins His Apprenticeship As A Rent Boy With Alfred Taylor In The S, And Finds A Life Of Pleasure And Excess Leads Him To New Friendships Most Notably With The Soon To Be Infamous Oscar Wilde A Century Later, David Tells His Own Tale Of Unashamed Decadence While Waiting To Be Released From Prison, Addressing His Story To The Lover Who Betrayed Him Where Their Paths Cross, In The Politically Sensitive S, The Artist Colin Read Tentatively Explores His Sexuality As He Draws In Preparation For His Most Ambitious Painting Yet London TriptychRent Boys, Aristocrats, Artists And Felons Populate This Bold D But As Jonathan Kemp Skilfully Interweaves The Lives And Loves Of Three Very Different Men Across The Decades

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the London Triptych book, this is one of the most wanted Jonathan Kemp author readers around the world.

➺ [Reading] ➼ London Triptych  By Jonathan Kemp ➯ –
  • Paperback
  • 239 pages
  • London Triptych
  • Jonathan Kemp
  • 20 April 2018
  • 9780956251534

10 thoughts on “London Triptych

  1. says:

    Never have I ever read a novel like this one, and never do I think I would ever again The feeling upon trailing off from the last word and flipping the page to discover it blank and cold is akin to finishing The Secret History If not for the intrinsic differences that lay in the heart of the books that separate them from each other, I would say that both books are similar but they are fundamentally not, so I will stop going down this tempting path and strike one out of my own making.So Where do I start.Despite that Goodreads claims the ebook version is 245 pages long, I spent well over 4 hours breaching almost over to 5 reading this book Which is unheard of, given that I am a fast reader And at the risk of sounding pretentious, I do think that this book is meant to be slowly savoured, because it forces you to do so You can not rush this book you will be incapable of rushing it The prolific beauty that Kemp strings, word after word, sentence after sentence, so that what sits in front of you is not merely a book with a plot and characters and words but quite frankly a product of divine inspiration Like a rich feast laden on the king s table, you can gorge but you become full very quickly thus, there is an almost subconscious control that wills you to go over every single word, carefully and slowly Breathe it in and savour.This book This book. It is explicit and risqu , dark and dangerous It is almost excessive in its decadence It is gorgeous and heartbreaking and very much gay At this rate I ll be adding an extra hundred words worth of adjectives by praising Kemp with poorly written prose, so I suppose I ll have to round it off with that I have printed roughly 20 quotes from the book with the very intention of hanging it in my room I hope that this alone will be sufficient enough in coaxing your interest to, at the very least, read the book s summary, if the above does nothing for you.My main lone criticism is the lack of incepfiction cohesiveness that the summary promises, but quite honestly I don t find myself giving a damn compared to what I have received from reading this book.

  2. says:

    Love isn t meant to stand still This is one of many key sentences in Jonathan Kemp s wonderfully unsettling London Triptych, three stories set in London at three different moments in time that slowly come together through a series of subtle connections and recurrent characters.In 1894, Jack Rose recounts his apprenticeship as a rent boy in Alfred Taylor s brothel and his encounter and relationship with Oscar Wilde in the months before the trial that eventually disgraced the poet s life and reputation In the mid 1950s, painter Colin Read shy and repressed starts opening up to his sexuality through his meeting with a bold young man who ll be the trigger of a surge in his artistic inspiration.In 1998, David addresses his former lover Jake from prison in a long and painfully honest confession that looks back at his whole life with unblinking precision.On these apparently simple and bare narratives threads, Kemp investigates the vagaries and mysteries of love, passion, self discovery and sex If Jack and Colin have to hide their sexuality from society, David embraces freely a life of hedonism and excess that leaves him drained and cold His arc contrasts nicely with Jack s growing awareness of his feelings and with Colin s outgrowing of the shell where he s exiled himself throughout his life London Triptych is not a novel of major events or seismic emotions, it s about small aftershocks and vibrations that slowly shift the characters perspective on life reassessing their perception of themselves and their environment London itself alive in a throbbing and painful sort of way, indifferent, glimmering in the night is a mesmerising presence in the book, as important as its main characters Kemp underlines the city s importance in the novel s afterword For all three men, their experience of London is, essentially, one of liberation I repeated some locations to give a sense of different memories, different events, occurring within or upon the same geographical site, such as Highgate Cemetery or Barnes Common The three men s lives unfold in a tandem, as if simultaneously, transcending concrete time It is, in that sense, very much a triptych The idea of London as a site of liberation really resonated with my own experience of the city, despite my different circumstances and life details London Triptych is raw, touching and engrossing and it made me discover George Cayford s beautiful drawings Highly recommended.

  3. says:

    London Triptych is a time spanning novel set in three time periods, the 1890 s, 1950 s and 1980 s The three narratives are separate stories but subtly intertwined.In the 1890 s, Jack Rose starts his tuition as rent boy with Alfred Taylor and learns to love a life of sex and pleasure servicing his well heeled clients amongst the decadence and hidden world of homosexuality in Victorian London He meets Oscar Wilde during his work and is interestingly brought into his relationships.In the 1950 s, Colin Read an artist who has a fondness for drawing male nudes and tries his best to hide and suppress his sexuality from his models Eventually his desires lead to ever bold and dangerous liaisons.Finally we meet David in the 1980 s, his tale begins with him being in prison and how he ended up there through his exploits as a male prostitute on the London scene and a chance meeting with a beautiful man who he ends up in love with but ultimately this man betrays him.This is a dark but enjoyable novel, its vivid portrayal of gay sex and the gay underworld normally hidden from view is startling in its excess and decadence To be honest I don t think this book is one for straight readers.

  4. says:

    What can I say It s just a beautiful piece of writing When you read in reviews that each word is carefully crafted I think they must have been thinking about this work because I was taken by how many of the descriptions in the book are so well conveyed in a few short colourful intense words I found myself writing them down which I rarely do as I didn t want to interrupt the narrative The plot is well described by others so I won t repeat it but it s the sense of time and place which is so well evoked especially the 1950 s which is conveyed in all its claustrophobia The character Colin feels trapped in an open prison, which is probably an accurate description of the times One line that did stay with me was when Colin 1950 s chose not to pass judgement on his model for his prostitution work as he gives up his body for money and pleasure while I give up my soul for money and tedium Spoken for all civil servants I found the last character, the one in the 1990 s, the least likeable It is a walk through 10 years of gross sexual indulgence, prostitution or escort work if you re a man and drug fuelled encounters in the seedy side of London s gay world Never having been in a gay club or even mixed with anyone who frequented them I will take the author s word on the realism It sounds pretty real anyway He tried to link Jack Rose s lifestyle in 1895 with contemporary London or maybe contrast it You decide I doubt you will be disappointed I m on my third reading in two years which is a record in itself All three lives are subtly interwoven over time and a credit to the writer that he could make the link as they subtly touch hands as it were through the passage of time You will find a 4 page explanation of how the book came to be written and why it is written using three time periods 1895, 1950 and 1998 roughly 50 years apart.

  5. says:

    Jonathan Kemp explores hungers we cannot explain and paints images not only intensely erotic, but tender Here, in London Triptych, he shows us the unfolding of three men s lives, each an unravelling ribbon, fluid, twisting, looking back upon itself Their stories are confessionals, inviting us to enter the nocturnal, hidden recesses of the psyche Meanwhile, London s shadows and secrets echo those within our protagonists, and remind us that we readers, too, have our untold stories.Each of the tales within the triptych takes place, primarily, in London, though separated by five decades We see the details of the setting change, while the themes remain eternal our desire for what we cannot articulate our struggle to express ourselves freely our eagerness to navigate the geography of possibilities our delight in love, glorious, overwhelming and unexpected and the vulnerability of that state.1890s rent boy Jack Rose falls into an almost unwilling passion for Oscar Wilde, leading towards a path of disappointment and betrayal 1950s artist Colin tentatively explores his sexuality, against a backdrop of prudery and prejudice In the 1990s, David awaits release from prison, telling of the lover who deceived him.With each interchanging narrative, we learn of each protagonist s history and motivations, and we see the ways in which their stories resemble one other They do not go in search of love Rather, it surprises them, catching them off guard They experience transcendence and then misery a change in their worldview.Sex is central to the story, an enduring, irresistible force, with or without love It is the engine driving each of our narrators to discover a version of the self yet out of reach.Jack Rose tells us I became a whore in order, not to find myself, but to lose myself in the dense forest of that name However, love is the transformative emotion Love enervates and destroys, bringing ultimate joy and torture We are shown its ability to shed light on our restricted, repetitive paths.Kemp explores what it has meant to be homosexual in a world which views those desires as dangerously inverted, and shows us the tension between pleasure and danger, when there are no laws but those of the body When you can be free, free to pursue any desire, acquire any knowledge it s the most terrifying place to live It s dangerously beautiful As ever, Kemp s storytelling goes beyond action and consequence, or the clever use of dialogue to reveal character, or the exploration of eternal themes His talent lies in his use of language, probing words for their secrets, for their blood beat , for their ability to reveal meaning held within the contours of the skin He returns, again and again, to the inadequacy of language to express the erotic truths of the body, the cannibal, animal hunger of desire And yet, he, as few authors can, animates the universal language of lust written on the body and spoken by the eyes and fingers.He shows us that sex can take us to other destinations within the self , as if opening doors that lead to other corridors, and other doors I am here without knowing how Suddenly, terrifyingly present Here, now, lost and hot Meanwhile, London itself embodies the elusive, enchanting paradox of existence It is a place of anonymity, and simultaneous intimacy London is the unseen, legion faced and thus faceless listener, inviting the narrators to share their secrets It is a place of judgment all three stories bring to bear the presence of the law and prospective punishment for homosexual transgression and of liberation It is a place of contradictions, just as we are contradictory.

  6. says:

    This is Jonathan Kemp s debut novel and is a fascinating insight into gay history over the last 100 years Whether you are straight or gay, it is an absorbing read The characters are well rounded human beings, with their strengths and imperfections The book is set in London and links the lives of Jack from 1895, Colin in 1954, and David in 1998.Jack is a rent boy with few inhibitions He lives a life of hedonism and adventurous sex, meeting men from all classes in suppressed Victorian society, notably the soon to be famous Oscar Wilde.Colin is an aspiring artist He lives in the asceticism of post war London and is filled with self doubt and self loathing He tentatively explores his sexuality as he prepares for his most ambitious painting yet London Triptych.David is also a rent boy, constantly seeking his next sexual high among the drug partying crowds of the 90s.The three stories are intertwined from chapter to chapter, in a series of apparently disparate episodes It is only at the end that Kemp provides the surprising link between them.This is a compelling read, a real page turner Kemp challenges his characters by throwing them at events and then watching them flounder and flail It betrays their weaknesses and makes them real and three dimensional Too often in gay fiction, authors resort to stereotypes This book is a commentary on the changes to the lives of gay men over the last one hundred years, and an insight into Kemp s own views on gay men and love.From a writer s point of view it is a book that makes you stop and think, not just about the observations Kemp makes, but also about his prose style and his chosen structure The book is ambitious and a very good first novel Well worth reading.

  7. says:

    OK, one from my Major Gay Authors category Kemp s book is NOT for most mainstream readers he explores the dark underworld of rent boys across three generations of London 1895, the footloose Jack Rose will do anything and anyone to escape the grinding poverty of his East London slum, and discovers the far lusher life of serving as object of desire to lords, politicians, and even Oscar Wilde By 1954, a severe crackdown has led to a far closeted world, in which a budding painter s fears of recrimination has trapped him in a stifled existence His latest model opens his eyes, and much In the swirling hedonism of 1998, anyone with a mobile can begin an anonymous trade what fells this hero is falling in love.The stories are terrifically engaging each time period is swiftly yet fully realized They are quite risque I was reading this during a flight, and half feared that my neighbor would think I was reading porn on the plane

  8. says:

    I really wanted to like this novel, which relates the story of three gay Londoners in 1894, 1954 and 1998 respectively, linked by the pleasures and perils of the capitol But I just didn t The problem is that the author, who wrote this while apparently completing his PhD in comparative literature, couldn t get out of his own way and prevent his academic work from getting in the way of his fiction There is just too much delight in words for their own sake, which especially in the case of the teenage prostitute Jack, the protagonist of the 1894 sit oddly with their supposed narrators Matters aren t helped by the author appending a lengthy afterword explaining his literary choices and his meanings The most successful section is probably the 1954 section the weakest is the 1998 one Like I said, I really, really wanted to like this, but I just couldn t If the author wouldn t have tried so hard to be literary, it would have come off so much better.

  9. says:

    There s no need for gay literature to be so Gay Obvious, inconsequential and boring.

  10. says:

    London in the 1890s, 1950s and late 1990s is the setting for three interlaced tales about life for same sex desiring men Jack in the Gay 90s is a rent boy , a teen prostitute whose livelihood brings him into contact with Oscar Wilde Colin, an artist in gay paranoid 1954 finds a nude model s seeming openness about his sexuality a challenge for his own closeted life David in the 1980s, telling his story from prison a decade and later chooses to throw his life in front of the AIDS bus in order to live a life that Jack, a century before, could have risked safely.As soon as this reviewer realized that Jack s meeting Wilde and the infamous Bossy was than a cameo, he saw how the entire novel was a revisit of the tragic life of the well known wit and playwright The rent boy is a true hedonist, appealing to Wilde s need for relaxing vigilance against the threat of public censure When the Marquis of Queensbury finds witnesses to the truth of his allegations, Jack is called in to testify, and a war between his love for Wilde and his feeling of mutual betrayal informs his choices for the rest of his life.Colin, an obedient son, gives up a desired career as an artist, returning to art as an avocation in his 50s Gregory, his unashamed male artist s model, starkly contrasts with Colin s own repressed life, living as Colin does in a time when one well known homosexual after another is infamously tried and incarcerated for being caught at the love that dares not speak its name Colin s fascination with Gregory leads him to break through his isolation, as much in spite of as because of the lost opportunities they represent to him, and the title triptych is an oil painting three figures of Gregory.David is the opposite of Colin, having walked out of his parents lives rather than conform to their wishes He takes on a false name and proceeds to London in the 1980s to immerse him in the now liberated gay culture, becoming the same as Jack, a male prostitute His first taste of love backfires on him, and he tells his tale from prison, where he is for quite another crime that sodomy and, in essence, sentenced to sodomy by other prisoners, certain he must have been infected by HIV AIDS.The author confesses that he wrote all three men s stories separately, then spliced them together, an end he accomplished with incredible artistry The author s notes are as fascinating as the novel itself, though I suppose as a novelist ourselves we are bound to think so, but he verifies the reader s sense that the three stories, the triptych, are all about what happened to Wilde Whether literal or of one s own making, prison is the character of all three men s lives as it was for Wilde Ironically Jack seems the freest of all the men, though in fact sodomy is illegal in his time Kemp explains how he came to fashion the brilliantly woven story, each life enlightening the experience of the man in the others.The novel will sneak up on you The tone starts with an optimistic and fun loving Jack whose experience loses its innocence as Wilde faces trial, then advances to Colin s self made prison with its sought after release dates, and finally the twisted repeat of Jack s carefree life, with David making the least of his freedom by making the most of it All three tales have love as the betrayer, along with the danger of placing trust in a fragile world.This is definitely a novel you will want to reread to make sure you didn t miss any of Kemp s originality and depth.That s all I Read

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