Fast fun read with likeable players. Neat job of knitting the french fairy tale with asian demon myth. Felt a bit pushed in to the story as if some ea...moreFast fun read with likeable players. Neat job of knitting the french fairy tale with asian demon myth. Felt a bit pushed in to the story as if some early chapters were missed. Very much worth the read and will probably read more by this author.(less)
Frank Herbert advises us to locate his main character in his proper time and place, and that is what this author does with Lucretia Borgia. Her time i...moreFrank Herbert advises us to locate his main character in his proper time and place, and that is what this author does with Lucretia Borgia. Her time is the Renaissance; the place is Rome, then only a city-state not under a unified Italy. It is Caligula-like brutality being dealt with one hand while the other hand flourishes the paintbrush and pen.
There are a lot of names dropped in this book. One person may have several names (Rodrigo Borgia aka Alexander VI) and may also share his or her name with other people (Rodrigo Borgia uncle to Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia and grandfather to Rodrigo...etc.)Many different places are mentioned - some no longer in existence - so keep the internets handy!
The author, while a bit wordy/gossipy/prissy/name-droppy, seems to keep neutral about what he writes. He also, however, seems to like Lucretia (unlike most historians.) He puts Lucretia's poisonous reputation down as sour-grape rumors spread by her family's enemies.
Not to say she wasn't a little evil though. After reading this book (going to read Caesar Borgia's bio but not anytime soon) you really understand why the Borgias were called the original mafia family.
Read this book if you want an in depth look at what Rome was like in the early 1500's. Its more of an academic read than anything else.(less)
Sam shook his head. "...I realized that I wasn't the only one with my problem, and that my problem wasn't the only problem in the world. Everybody has...moreSam shook his head. "...I realized that I wasn't the only one with my problem, and that my problem wasn't the only problem in the world. Everybody has problems that drive them crazy, and most people never solve them. I asked myself if I really thought my way of life was wrong, or if in thinking so I was merely genuflecting to the ideas of other people. For years I had pretended to myself that I would change. I admitted finally that I was a homosexual, that it wasn't a phase, and it wasn't a disease."
This one is a quick read; started reading this at a friend's home then smuggled it out and finished it off before midnight.
Sam is wonderful if only for the fact that it was first published in 1959! Plot revolves around gay Sam and his best friend Addie. Sam is not the often seen gay character who is comic relief or ends up getting murdered or committing suicide. The book has wit, some snappy dialogue and some rather dark turns - there's a bathhouse scene that I'm sure would have been more than scandalous at the time. Pay special attention to the butler and the cat; they are hilarious and offer insight regarding the other players.
The book reads a bit like an old black and white movie that is discovered on a sleepless night. Shiny men and women played by yesteryear's Hollywood royalty trading quips and being witty and drinking martinis; hopes and fears are revealed as we cut to the bedroom scenes.
The fag/hag (yes i can say that! but i wish we could invent a better phrase) relationship is explored with gentleness and understanding. Deeper than friendship and sometimes more intimate than physical love, the bond between the gay and his gal can (and will as its nature!) be destructive to those within its bounds and those outside of it.(less)