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The Prince's Boy

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  264 ratings  ·  44 reviews
In May 1927, nineteen-year-old Dinu Grigorescu, a skinny boy with literary ambitions, is newly arrived in Paris. He has been sent from Bucharest, the city of his childhood, by his wealthy father to embark upon a bohemian adventure and relish the unique pleasures of Parisian life.

An innocent in a new city, still grieving the sudden loss of his beloved mother Elena seven ye
Paperback, 152 pages
Published March 12th 2015 by Bloomsbury (first published March 2014)
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3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  264 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Roger Pettit
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Less is sometimes more. That is certainly the case in fiction. And it's undoubtedly true of 'The Prince's Boy', a short (151 pages), superficially slight novel about a number of universal issues: the fragility of life; unconventional love; fascism and anti-Semitism; and grief (to name just some). It's a beautifully written, elegant and delicate story that, with its emphasis on character rather than plot, packs a much greater punch than many seemingly more substantial novels. I really enjoyed it. ...more
John Wiltshire
Jun 19, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-up-on
Good grief.
I suspect people who enjoy this are the kind of readers who pick up their books with reverence, read a sentence and swill it around for the flavour for hours, then digest, then cogitate on the wonderful experience. Each sentence.
However, I prefer my reading to resemble being in the back of a off-road vehicle in the mountains--exhilarating, challenging and FUN.
NOT for me.
Gave up after the first chapter.
George Lester
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-june-2015
A truly magnificent book. The words sing off the page and hit you right in the chest. The sort of writing that gives me life.
Sadie Forsythe
I won a copy of this book here on Goodreads.

In some ways this was a wonderful book, in others it was pompous—trying far too hard to be what it is. In the wonderful column are a host of colourful characters, a strong, abiding love and some great writing.

However, I struggled to really get into the narrative. I found the dialogue almost unbearably stiff. It was purposefully so, for sure, since the characters are mostly of the upper-crust and thus constrained by the dictates and decorum of polite s
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very brief, deceptively simple in its writing and construction, The Prince’s Boy is an exquisite novel of love and loss that casts a bittersweet spell on the reader. It starts as a Parisian fairy tale set in the twenties, as we meet young and beautiful Dinu, a wealthy Romanian boy who’s sent to Paris to enjoy the good life, when Paris was the center of the so-called années folles. Dinu’s love for the virile, irresistible, and older Razvan (the Prince’s boy of the title) is absolute, deliciously ...more
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Îl „cunosc” pe Paul Bailey din poveștile lui Marius Chivu, care s-a ocupat și de această delicată traducere. Nu pot decât să mă înclin în fața talentului lui Marius de a pune în cuvinte românești o proză esențialmente românească, scrisă însă de un străin și într-o limbă atât de diferită. Obișnuită cu realismul ironic sau chiar sarcastic al englezilor, am avut senzația că citesc un scriitor interbelic de la noi care din cine știe ce eroare nu a intrat în programa de BAC. În afară de povestea care ...more
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a little like a Cocteau drawing set in words, this book. The narrator, who's very much of his time and place, conveys his story in a very un-modern way: that is almost as much by what is not on the page as by the words that appear there. There's a great deal of passion, but it's very contained and expressed with great discretion. And such atmosphere! It's time travel condensed into a very compact book. I'll look forward to a second read, I think.
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-lit
Another sublime slice of delicious writing from Paul Bailey. Romantic and full of longing, this tale of unexpected and forbidden love, spanning 40 years of the last century, set in Paris and Romania is quite wonderful. Short, sweet and sorrowful, but also uplifting, a touching story that speaks from and of the heart.
Graeme Aitken
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1927: following the sudden death of his beloved mother, nineteen-year-old Dinu Grigorescu is shipped off from Bucharest to Paris by his wealthy father. The plan is for him to recover from the bereavement, write a book, and enjoy the bohemian pleasures of Paris. But the pleasures that young Dinu seeks are not what his father imagines…. It does not take him long to find his way to the Bains du Ballon d’Alsace, a brothel for men who desire sex with other men. Dinu hires ‘a beast beyond compare’ and ...more
Vontrice Lemell
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I keep bouncing from 4 and 5 stars on this one. Wish I could do a 4.5. I feel that the writing in this piece is beautiful and fits the setting and characters along with the theme. I had no idea what I was getting into as I was just looking to read a novel in 1st POV (Point of View). I fell in love with it all; the characters, settings, events, the language, voice, style...EVERYTHING. I knew I was falling in love with it. I knew things were going to happen and I waited for them in the way that on ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, problematic
Aw.... this book was, in some ways, all too adorable.

And in others, pedophilic.

Which is why I am forced to give it 3 stars instead of the 5 it would have deserved otherwise.

The main character, Dinu, is your typical innocent gay man. I'm all for this trope, especially because he's 19 at the start of the book- just the age when men are supposed to get married to women and have six attractive children and live out their lives the way their parents want them to.

Dinu, however, chooses different. He e
Dinu Grigorescu arrives in Paris from Bucharest filled with aspirations of becoming a writer. The year is 1927 and the young 19-year-old’s trip has been funded by his rich father.
Dinu lives a self indulgent lifestyle in Paris, where not much writing is done. When his time in Paris is up he moves back home to Bucharest where his father has a new wife. At first he mistrusts her, but later she will become his greatest confidant. Amalia will guard Dinu’s secret about his love for Rãvan, a fellow Ro
I liked the story well enough, but the language was too precious and exalted for me. I don't know if this is the author's usual writing style, or if he merely thought it befitted the main characters. It does rather, but I found it annoying anyway.

A quote to remember:
The logic of the malignly powerful is beyond the logic of the ordinary citizen. It functions in its own absurd universe. (p. 131)
Damian Serbu
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have but one complaint about this novel: it was so short, it took me but a couple of nights to read and I was so sad that it ended! I could have read 1,000 more pages of this story! Extremely well written. The settings are authentically portrayed. The love story is intense and beautiful. And the tension of the era comes out strongly. A story well told.
Jan 26, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While reading this, I laughed out loud and exclaimed, "Am I supposed to take this seriously?" As a farce, it was at least amusing until I reached the end which was depressing and disgusting (the main character vomits on his lover's grave). Avoid this book!
Nov 16, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If this is good writing, I have no desire to be a good writer.
Claudia Camacho
It is a good thing that the author of this book seems to hold frivolity in high steem, because this is a frivolous piece of literature. Not once did I feel a conection with any of the characters in this story, everything felt artificial and one-dimmensional, not to mention clichéd.

Once again I was stuck with story that seemed to be out of a B-class yaoi manga, but without the visual appeal. Is this the norm in the so-called LGBT genre? At least it was short and easy to read; the author has a ve
Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader
I actually like the language and style this was written in but I do agree with someone else that it is too formal for the period it covers, 20s to the 60s. It was an enjoyable and quick read and I was happy enough considering I picked it at random from the library.
Becky Condron
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The perfect book to eat up in an afternoon, taking you back to a Paris long gone, as so many other novels have. It reminds me of the youth that it captures well. A gentle love story in too few pages
Roger Brunyate
A Memory of Love
The story I have to tell now is the strangest of my life. I am not even sure that I will be able to account for it. The events I am going to relive and relate took place forty years ago when I was green in the ways of the flesh and the complexities of human intercourse. Let me say, simply, that the writer-to-be Dinu Grigorescu was innocent about the random nature of everyday living.
I picked up this little novella at random, with no idea that it would be a gay love story. But it
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel as if I was introduced to Paul Bailey by Elizabeth Taylor – it is said (how true this is I don’t know) that the young Paul Bailey was the inspiration behind the character of Ludo in her 1971 novel Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont. He has also written introductions to many VMC titles, so despite having been aware of Paul Bailey for a number of years I had yet to read one of his novels. I seem to have started with Bailey’s most recent novel – despite having his first novel already tbr.

I bought
James Lark
The second book on the trot I've read with a Paris location and openly acknowledged delusions of Proustian grandeur, and just like 'In the absence of men' I'm not sure this has very much to say. It's shame, because I love Paul Bailey's writing and this has some beautiful prose, but I fear it's as slim in content as it feels. Given its length, there is an impressive sense of scale in the timeframe it occupies, but as the epiloguey final chapter looks back over events and characters that have bare ...more
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In some ways, this is a "coming of age" story, ostensibly about Dinu Grigorescue’s experiences when he was young and sent to Paris by his Romanian Father to have a chance to sow his oats and delve into writing. He doesn't write at that time, but does write this memoir when old. So the story tells of the love he found for a male 20 years older, Razvan, when he was young. Then it relates the fondness with which it lasted at a distance throughout his life with infrequent get-togethers.

As a reviewer
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an unusual story and short too. But it packed a lot into those 3 chapters. (Yes it has 3 chapters.) I decided to read it after reading a review about it. I thought the timeline, 1920s to 1960s, would be interesting as far as history of that time period goes. There wasn't much in the way of historical facts, but what was written did include some artists and writers of that time, Hitler's advance in Europe, and his hatred of Jews and how some of the locals reacted. But basically the story w ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: year-2015
I really enjoyed "The Prince's Boy'". The title character is a man named Razvan. He was adopted by a prince, taken away from the country and taught how to be civilized and to move among the elite. Then the prince died and Razvan was left helpless and alone. But,even though the book is called "The Prince's Boy" it's really about a boy named Dinu.

Dinu is mourning his mother and is sent from Bucharest to Paris by his wealthy father to have one bohemian summer. Dinu is set up in an apartment and wat
May, 1927 and Dinu Grigorescu, guileless and naive is sent by his father from Bucharest to Paris to, temporarily , have a bohemian adventure. Dinu doesn't disappoint, although his father would not approve of how bohemian Dinu's Parisian lifestyle would become. Attracted to a certain place of ill-repute, Dinu falls for one of the employees of this establishment, who becomes his life-long lover. This is the second novel I've read by Paul Bailey and both have been written with cool precision. And I ...more
Roxana Cosmina
Iubirea și moartea sunt temele în jurul cărora se învârte romanul. O iubire ce înflorește într-un mediu dezmățat și sfidează etichetele socială având în vedere că îndrăgostiții sunt de același sex. Rândurile sunt împodobite cu dor și dorință, în timp ce paginile sunt impregnate cu amintirea neîncetată a morții. Aici iubirea nu poate fi afectată de trecerea timpului și nici de micile neînțelegeri zilnice fiind mai presus de tristețe și remușcare. ( continuare)
Beth Hartnett
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every once and awhile you read a perfectly paced and beautifully written novel. The Prince's Boy is just such a novel. We learn of the life story and love story of a Romanian man whose wealthy father sends him to Paris to live the bohemian life in the 1920s. In a seedy brothel, he falls in love with Honore, a man adopted by a Romanian prince, the prince's boy. The story continues in different countries and as Romania succumbs to Nazism.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a a novel, written as a memoir set in Paris and Romania intermittently from the 1920s until the 1960s.. The writing seems somewhat stilted and spare, as if the author is being forced or compelled to write it and doesn't want to give too many details. Still there is enough here to feel the sadness, solitude, and sexual joy experienced by Dinu as he tells of his controversial love-life.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent writing about life long love, with snippets of Romanian and French history. Lots of references to Proust, the church, morality, and the effects of the rise to power by the Nazi party. Not what I expected but I did enjoy it. If you are puritanical, stay away, as you may be offended by the sexual inclinations of the characters.
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British writer and Literary Fellow at Newcastle and Durham Universities (1972-74), he was Visiting Lecturer in English Literature at the North Dakota State University (1977-79). He was awarded the E. M. Forster Award in 1974 and in 1978 he won the George Orwell Prize for his essay "The Limitations of Despair", first published in The Listener magazine.