4.5 stars. This novella isn't a traditional romance, and that's not because both main characters are men; describing an already established, mostly happy relationship, it's very much like a delightful old-fashioned "first year of marriage" story like Joy in the Morning
, except with gay sex.
The story is narrated by Al, an enormous hulk of a guy who doesn't think much of his looks or his intellectual abilities; he's kind of baffled that Larry, a "posh" art professor at Cambridge, wants to be with him. Al is undeniably a bit slow, but he's by no means childish, and he has a beguiling appreciation for the things he enjoys -- especially Larry.
I loved almost everything about this story. The narration is brilliant, as it shows everything going on from the point of view of someone who often doesn't always entirely understand it. The main conflicts have nothing to do with the fact that Al and Larry are gay, though they don't live in a fantasyland where that's absolutely never an issue, either. And their feelings for each other are so sweet and tender. My one complaint was I thought there was a surfeit of sex scenes; those are sweet too, I just could've done with a few less of them. A small complaint, for such a unique character study and affectionate romance.