Thursday, November 17, 2016

New Release: The Gentleman


I had The Gentleman by Forrest Leo on hold at the library long before this political sh*tstorm began and so decided to read it even though I wasn't in the mood for fiction. It turned out to be just the book to bring me out of my funk and help me feel more like myself again. (The other book, which I'm still listening to, but which is helping immensely is Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist.)

I thought, when I first began reading, that the titular gentleman was our main character Lionel Savage, Victorian poet and unhappy husband, forced to marry for money after bankrupting himself buying books. However, it is soon revealed that The Gentleman is, in fact, the Devil, come to thank Savage for what he perceived to be kind words said about him by Lionel. The Devil laments that he has no friends and admits that he has been wanting one for ever so long. Savage finds that he is also longing for a friend and so accepts this new person into his life, loans him a book of Tennyson's poetry, and insincerely wishes to be rid of his wife. When his wife is no longer around the next day, Savage begins to think that his friendship and wish might have been a bit foolish.

Written in first person as a memoir that has been edited and footnoted by Savage's wife's cousin, this is a funny and surprising story. There are all sorts of commentaries on gender, race, science, progress, art, and friendship. The way they are presented, through the conceited and wayward lens of Savage's ego, is quite amusing and enlightening. I enjoyed the unconventional family relationships and the bucking of Victorian mores. It was irreverent at times (many, many times, to be honest) and that was just what I needed right now.

What books are helping you through this tough time?

Finding my own sense of purpose,
K

10 comments:

  1. This sounds amazing but my library doesn't have it. :( I'm reading The Bear and the Nightingale right now and it is wonderful, though, the best kind of fairy-tale based fiction.

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    1. Bummer! I requested it when it was still on order.
      And I've turned to fairy tales now too. They are comforting and long-lasting.

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  2. This sounds really good. I just added it to my wish list!

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  3. The Gentleman certainly has an interesting (and unique!) plot. And that cover is amazing. It's going on the list. :)

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    1. Great! I can't remember how I heard about it before it was released but I'm glad that I got it on my list.

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  4. Hmm... not sure I ever would have picked this up, but your review is making me consider it. The thing is, I don't know exactly where my irreverence line is. Might be worth it for an amusing Victorian story...

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    1. A few of the blurbs reference Monty Python but I didn't really think of them much during the book. More of a comedy of errors. :)

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  5. This sounds like it might be delightful. I'm currently rereading The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand

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    1. That sounds like a nice escape book. :)

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