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Man's World

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  88 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Contrasting today’s blogs with diaries of the past, this novel follows two parallel narratives that are 50 years apart and vastly different, at least at first appearance. In modern-day London, Robert searches for fulfillment in a world of sex, drugs, designer clothes, and hip gay clubs, during which he records his experienceon his blog. Half a century earlier, Michael kept...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Arcadia Books
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Remembrance of Things I Forgot by Bob   SmithWhy Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette WintersonThe Empty Family by Colm TóibínMary Ann in Autumn by Armistead MaupinLondon Triptych by Jonathan Kemp
The Green Carnation Prize
32nd out of 49 books — 19 voters
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The World
99th out of 168 books — 21 voters

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Community Reviews

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Rupert Smith, why don't you have this little gem in e-book format? I checked Amazon, Kobo, ARe and B&N. I listened to the audiobook, and it was well done and most entertaining. But not everyone likes audiobooks and lots of readers avoid collecting physical books, so you are missing a big audience.

I have recently become a fan of Rupert Smith's alter ego James Lear and was curious to see what his non-erotica gay lit was like. It was a winner! Man's World has two story arcs that colorfully illu...more
Roger Kean
Some readers, I note, feel that the characters are not likeable enough for the book to be an enjoyable read. Perhaps that is because people expect to the characters to be sympathetic from the off. Academically speaking, in 1957 narrator Michael, screaming-queen-in-waiting Stephen, and hot-hot-hot lover-boy, pussy-chaser, pat-my-beauteous-butt Mervyn are not exactly loveable; 21st-century narrator Robert, best friend screaming-out-there-every-day best friend Jonathan, and hulk-for-the-day sex-fie...more
Dual narratives, both written in first person present-tense can be wrenching, it's distracting to be in a groove in the late 1950s only to shift to the 21st century. A well-researched and crafted tale.
The story juxtaposes gay lives 50 years apart. For most of the book you hear two distinct voices. First that of Robert, in blog mode, superficial, hedonistic a member of the present day London crowd. Robert does not come off as a particularly attractive character nor does his best friend Jonathan-Nathan-Nat who gets away with being a self-centred, profiteering s.o.b. not so much because Robert wants to help his friend but because not giving in to his demands would mean investing interest and ene...more
I absolutely adored this book! This is the story of two different gay guys in Britain whose stories become somewhat intertwined.

First we start out of the story of Rob, a muscular, modern day party-boy who’s rather shallow and not all that likable until the waning chapters of the book. Rob battles rampant drug and steroid use, hepatitis and repeatedly bats away the interest shown in him by the "nice" guy at his office before he begins to finally exhibit signs that he's more than your average gym...more
Kailash Maharaj
The title of the book caught my attention. Considering the sexual orientation of all the characters of substance in the book, I would normally have ignored the book. Smith’s writing style must be applauded for on reading the first few line I needed to read more. Brilliant story-telling. Though the characters were homosexual, what Smith managed to do was express the emotions that run through the hearts of men whatever their orientation. His story serves to challenge stereotypes while offering a r...more
I really loved this and it taught me that I should stop opening every book with the cynical assumption that I'm going to hate it (no, really, what the hell is that all about?). The book has two stories running parallel to each other, one in the present and one in the fifties. The present has the character Robert with the freedom to be out and indulging in some of the facets of gay culture, and the past has Michael, in the closet, and doing his national service in the RAF.

Firstly, I thought I'd p...more
This is a book that I probably would not have read if it hadn't been a selection for one of my reading groups.

I found it quite engaging and appreciated the contrast between the gay scene in contemporary London and England during the 1950s.

I found my sympathies more with Michael in the past that Robert in the present as I have little interest in the constant round of clubbing and getting wasted or getting overly excited about designer clothes. Still I'd feel the same if the main protagonists were...more
I wallowed in this lovely meringue of a novel about gay life in London in after world war 2 and in the early 21st century. It's witty and optimistic, the story moves along briskly, the characters are all delightful, even the horrible back stabbing pornographers, and the political point about how civil rights are also achieved by ordinary people leading everyday lives, is clearly made.
I disliked some of the characters immensely especially the modern day characters, but despite that I found myself liking the book. I wished the majority of it could have been on the guys in the fifties and their struggles but I appreciate the modern aspect was the counterpoint. It made me think about how much we take for granted the rights people have fought and died for and how we don't appreciate the things handed to us. The writing style was not the most intellectually challenging but I thoug...more
Rupert Smith is a lazy writer. His protagonist is stereotypically shallow and so incredibly irritating I constantly felt the urge to push him over a particularly steep cliff with particularly jagged rocks at the bottom. Not only do Smith's characters offend, but his writing is absolutely ugly. This book reads like all quick cash-ins read: cheap, rushed and forgettable in every possible away. Avoid like the plague.
This novel is absolutely brilliant; and since I am an avid fan of queer literature, and feel inclined to retain a high or low opinion of its quality, I am extremely enthusiastic when I say that this novel is superb, well-wrought, and inspiring. It has replaced many of my previous literature passions, and it has given me a new insight into London. More Rupert Smith will soon be read! Wow!
John Morris
Zipped through this book in double quick time and loved every page. Ok, so maybe many of the characters were stereotypes but I could recognise people I have met in them so there must have been so reality.
Really enjoyed the switch from current day to 50/60s and found it funny, moving and totally enjoyable. Read it and see for yourself!
George Snyder
Impressive handling of dual narrative, two men in two different times, two worlds which converge. If you only know the author from his James Lear (nom de plume) titles, you'll be delighted to learn he writes under his own name as well.
The narrative is good and moves at a pace but found the main characters rather thinly drawn and dependent on easy stereotypes.
William Huang
One of the most heartfelt love stories ever written. Shows us that pure love is neither eroded by time nor tide.
Not one for me. Nothing of note.
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Rupert Smith was born in Washington DC in 1960, and grew up in Surrey. He has lived in London since 1978. After graduating with a BA in English, he continued his studies at the University of London and in 1986 completed his PhD in theatre history. He is the author of many novels, under his own name and as James Lear and Rupert James. As a journalist, he has contributed to The Guardian, The Indepe...more
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