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3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  98 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Not too many novels can lay claim to a men's restroom as their primary setting, but in the case of Warwick Collins's novel, Gents, a lavatory is an educational place. The hero of this slim volume is Ez Murphy, a Jamaican immigrant to London who finds work cleaning a public restroom. He soon becomes wise to the ways of a certain faction of the world--those who have romantic ...more
Hardcover, 118 pages
Published 2002 by Gyldendal (first published 1997)
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Nov 15, 2007 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Work as a subject is sorely neglected by fiction; few writers, with the notable exception of Magnus Mills who does almost nothing else, draw inspiration from the mundane tasks we perform or have performed for us on a daily basis. Gents, though, describes with lyricism and precision the working lives of the three men running a municipal public lavatory in London. The men, all three originally from Jamaica, have different attitudes to the use of the place by cruising homosexuals – or, as they refe ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every now and then, you read a book that takes you completely unawares, challenges what you think, and completely surprises you in the pure joy of it, and this is such a book! If I hadn't been given this book to read, I don't think I ever would have, I'd have read the blurb, decided it really wasn't for me, and passed on by! However, friends passed it on, and several comments suggested that they had all read the blurb and thought the same thing, but thoroughly enjoyed it, so on that recommendati ...more
Jan 30, 2009 D.J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My advice to you would be to not read this book....until you are able to treat yourself to a slice of time which will allow you the luxury of reading it from cover to cover in one sitting.

The main characters in this book reach out from the pages to welcome you into their world. The dialogue is exquisite, crafted in such a way that it burns into your mind. It left me incapable of putting the book down for more than a few minutes without burning with desire to find out what happened next.

Dec 17, 2009 DubaiReader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A quick, enjoyable read.

This took me under two hours to read, but they were two highly enjoyable hours.
Beautifully written with humour and wit, this book relates the dilemma of a gents public toilet in London; if the toilet attendants clear the facility of the unsavoury element ("reptiles"), the place becomes uneconomical.
I loved the Jamaican characters, all three of them beautifully drawn, and the way they cleaned the place so thouroughly that it didn't feel like an unsavoury setting at all!
Nicolas Chinardet
Dec 30, 2016 Nicolas Chinardet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet and fun little tale of morality on the themes of prejudice and acceptance.
Feb 04, 2009 Jamieson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Meet Ezekiel Murphy.

Needing work, he takes a job working as a toilet attendant at a men’s washroom in the London Underground. Working with two other men, Reynolds and Jason, he figures this will be just one more run of the mill job.

He is mistaken.

One day while cleaning the bathroom, he watches as two men leave a cubicle together. Another time, he watches as someone kneels on the ground while the other man stays standing.

Appalled, he asks Reynolds and Jason what is going on. “It’s the reptiles.”
Jules Jones
This is a short tale in what might seem an unsalubrious setting, but it's a small gem of a book that's well worth reading. It was first published in 1997, but went out of print, before being republished in 2007 by The Friday Project. The republication is well deserved.[return][return]Gents is the tale of Ezekiel Murphy, a West Indian immigrant, and the job he takes as an attendant in a public lavatory in London. The supervisor, Josiah Reynolds, and the other cleaner, Jason, teach him the job, wh ...more
Jackie Coupe
While the book cover sports an opinion that this is a masterpiece I kept waiting for that to hold true. Reading it quite quickly as its a short book I came to see that whilst the character set was small, they were very well crafted.
Anyway - the main story of a trio of black men looking after the gentlemans lavatories on the London underground is in itself quite original. The tale shows that whilst we can act on our bosses wishes it doesn't always pay off to do well. The staff bring up the fact t
Alberto Jacobo Baruqui
Oct 01, 2012 Alberto Jacobo Baruqui rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vida, uk
Un tema que de otra forma no sería fácil conocer a fondo; Collins trabaja para publicar este libro con respeto y de una manera inteligente y moral.
Son 3 personajes perfectamente definidos: Ezekiel Murphy, Reynolds y Jason. Los tres jamaicanos y heterosexuales. Sortean con buen humor las dificultades de la vida y de su trabajo como intendentes de un baño Londinense para hombres, que ya contaba con cierta fama de encuentros homosexuales. La historia se centra en estos baños, en las historias que
Sep 16, 2012 Rosemary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this unexpected little tale of goings-on in a men's public toilets in London. The story follows middle-aged Ez as he starts work alongside two other Jamaican-born Londoners cleaning the Gents'. The innocent Ez cannot imagine what can be going on when he spots two men leaving the same cubicle. He is enlightened by his workmates but soon they are having to take action because the Council is embarrassed by the place being such a well-known venue for 'cottaging' and is threatening with clo ...more
Donna Brown
Gents is a short novel and easy to read. The writing is fluid and straight forward and the characters are believable, although their development is limited due to the length of the book.

The plot is a more a vehicle to the delivery of the moral than anything else. A man begins working in a public urinal and is shocked to find it is used for casual sex. At first the book seems to have very judgmental, almost intolerant overtones. It is worth progressing with to see how the interaction of the chara
Frank Hestvik
I didn't like this book.

I read a Norwegian translation and I thought the language pretty tepid. It switches from objective to subjective third person sometimes, seemingly by a mistake. The protagonist is like a vapid ghost drifting through the story. The other two main characters also seem pretty empty. Maybe if it was longer...? It was a fast read though, and I got it for free.

The main source of conflict are gays and them doing horrible, unchristian things in the public bathroom where most of t
Megan Reddaway
I was disappointed with this. I thought it was going to be funny at the beginning but it became quite homophobic. It's about three staff of a London men's public toilets who are told by the Council that they have to reduce the amount of cottaging that goes on. The men having sex in cubicles are chased out with sticks and are referred to as 'reptiles' by all three staff, including the MC who is otherwise a sweet and sympathetic character. It's suggested that the cottaging men are not gay which I ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short book about 3 West Indians working in a London underground convenience. Quite a quick and enjoyable read with the main moral dilemma surrounding 'cottagers' causing problems for the council and also for the 3 Jamaican workers. Ingenious denouement to this problem but also as a sideline it looks at the morality of one of the main protagonists who is a rastafarian who can not 'keep it in his pants' and has two wives - I felt as though this could have been looked at more but I suppose it was i ...more
Manda Graham
I really didn't know what to expects from Gents, and found its simple set up of three main characters and their lives which centred on running a Gents toilet and some of the savoury and less savoury things that go on very easy to read and enjoyable. It's not a book that blew me away but was good because it was different and very straight forward. As I think someone else has written in a review I read somewhere, a bit like Magnus Mills but without the sparkle.
Nov 30, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: november-11
A book set in the gents' toilets at a a London underground station. The main character Ez has just begun working there and is shocked by why there are 2 men coming out of the same cubicle. His 2 co-workers Reynolds and Jason explain to him about it and what they have to do about it. A very short but well written book told with plenty of humour.
Jan 25, 2012 greythorne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2007, 50, books, before, 40
A quick read. Three West Indian men look after a gents' toilet in London, and, at the behest of the local council, try to rid it of the cottagers who frequent it. However, their success brings a drop in profits for the toilet, and they have some difficult decisions to make. This book taught me more about urinals than I ever wanted to know.
Marija S.
Dec 31, 2007 Marija S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prevedena kao: MUŠKI ZAHOD

Ova tanka knjižica bila je pravo iznenađenje i (unatoč svom naslovu) osvježenje. U njoj se ne krije nikakva dubokoumna filozofija koja mijenja život, radnja joj je posve mundana, ali svejedno u sebi ima ono nešto. Simpatična na neki posve svakodnevni način.
Aug 09, 2012 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A real gem, this book, wise and thought-provoking and tender and definitely unusual. Quite subversive too. Very well written and definitely deserves to be better known.
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
A quick, light read. I was expecting this book to be a bit more original but actually found it quite dull and forgettable.
Short and to the point but not the most exciting book I've read. It took less than an hour to get through.
Oscar E
Jul 31, 2015 Oscar E rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
More than a novel this could be a short (or long) story with a possitive message and a really optimistic ending. Liked it.
Nov 13, 2011 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Different. Not a book I would normally read. I liked the characters but who ever would have chosen this storyline is beyond me.
Oct 06, 2012 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, ml
I am so pleased that I was lent this little book as I am sure I would never have chosen it otherwise.
Leon Zrile
Leon Zrile rated it liked it
Jul 09, 2015
Shawn Mooney
Shawn Mooney rated it really liked it
Jan 01, 2016
Dalga Faik
Dalga Faik rated it it was amazing
Jan 21, 2014
Tom Williams
Tom Williams rated it really liked it
Jun 25, 2014
Ben rated it it was ok
Apr 28, 2010
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