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Man's World

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  120 Ratings  ·  24 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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Another brilliant work by Rupert Smith.

I am so glad I found Interlude, his last novel in an ebook edition, directly from a publisher, because I NEED to highlight many many many lines. It's how one HAVE to consume Rupert Smith's prose.

It is impossible to do it listening to an audio-book. Well, at least not for me. And I'm in love with his writing.

More later...
Nov 13, 2014 Otila rated it liked it
Shelves: library
I enjoyed this book very much but in the end it left me a bit frustrated. It had the potential to be a great book and the fact that it wasn't is disappointing.

The book is actually two stories set 50 years apart. Michael is struggling in the Royal Air Force in 1957 trying to hide that he's gay. Robert's life revolves around looking good and partying.

Michael's story was much more compelling and the people in his life were far more interesting. Robert's story in contrast just couldn't compete for
Sep 24, 2014 KatieMc rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
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
Roger Kean
Mar 08, 2014 Roger Kean rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 25, 2011 Sequelguerrier rated it liked it
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
Nov 05, 2013 Ken rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 14, 2012 Chase rated it it was amazing
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!
Dec 23, 2013 Averin rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-romance
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.
Nov 04, 2014 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Man's World tells two parallel stories, the one in the present day told by Robert, and the one set in the fifties my Michael. Both gay young men they would appear initially to have little else in common, yet their lives follow a very similar path.

Michael is a conscript serving in the RAF, believes he is probably queer but hides it, he thinks successfully, but some can see straight through his pretence. These include two fellow conscripts, the obviously queer and effeminate Stephen, and the hand
Kailash Maharaj
May 29, 2013 Kailash Maharaj rated it really liked it
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
Nicholas Cavenagh
Jan 26, 2015 Nicholas Cavenagh rated it it was amazing
The idea of having two stories, one in the past and one in the present, which connect and juxtapose, is not a new one. However there aren't many examples which are more engaging than this one. The balance of light, executed with bright and frothy wit with dark is near perfect. Smith is not afraid to critique contemporary mainstream gay culture, indeed points out its connection with historical oppression in a clever way. Smith shows once again that camp can be deep.
Sarah Murphy
Jan 09, 2015 Sarah Murphy rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book, which made me laugh almost as much as tipping the velvet - but completely different reasons. It reminded me of a few past friendships, the dialogue is sheer comedy club material. Many reviews said the characters weren't likeable but I thought they were believable and honest reflections about some personalities. Certainly worth a read and I understand why Sarah Waters endorsed the books value.
Jul 28, 2011 Brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 10, 2014 carelessdestiny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nicely-plotted
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.
John Morris
Jun 16, 2014 John Morris rated it it was amazing
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!
Jan 19, 2016 Kristina rated it liked it
Essentially a comparison of life for gay men in the late 1950s to that of those today. Perhaps best summed up by the quote "You had it all handed to you on a plate and you never stopped to wonder who put it there".
There are two different stories which echo each other in many respects and which converge in the modern day. I was more interested by the story from 1957. It is hard for someone of my age to realise that until very recently homosexuality was illegal and they attempted 'cures'. Which is
May 15, 2010 Rob rated it it was ok
The narrative is good and moves at a pace but found the main characters rather thinly drawn and dependent on easy stereotypes.
Jul 31, 2015 Ruth rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
If there was a prize for the surprise of the month - this book would win it. I got the audible version from the local library and it didn't come with too many details. But, the narrator made this a really funny (ha ha) read. I was actually smiling in the car while listening to it. I didn't expect this at all. The synopsis that I read off Amazon made me think that it was going to be a dreary and angst-ful read. But not at all. It is different to what I normally read as I am not that big into cont ...more
Oct 02, 2013 MsD rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, fiction, 2012, lgbt
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
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
Nov 14, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
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
George Snyder
May 08, 2013 George Snyder rated it really liked it
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.
William Huang
Jul 26, 2011 William Huang rated it it was amazing
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.
Maria (M.J) Hyland
Maria (M.J) Hyland rated it it was ok
Feb 06, 2016
Enrico added it
Jan 30, 2016
alackofdignity marked it as to-read
Jan 25, 2016
Nikoleta Trifonova
Nikoleta Trifonova marked it as to-read
Jan 18, 2016
Lori marked it as to-read
Jan 16, 2016
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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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