The King of a Rainy Country, Paperback

The King of a Rainy Country Paperback

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)




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Review by

Witty and stylish like they don't write them these days. After the light, picaresque adventures the odd ending comes rather sadly and abruptly. I suppose a "happy" straight and a "happy" queer ending are out of the question for different reasons - all in all, this novel feels like it's "in the closet" and cleverly jumping through hoops to remain so while giving plenty of winks to queer readers between the lines. Compare to the author's later "In Transit" which is very much "out of the closet".

Review by

1956 British novel about a drifting young couple of sexually ambiguous London bohemians, by the genre-defying Brigid Brophy. Last seen as a Virago Modern Classic in 1990, now republished by youthful indie fanzine types Coelacanth Press. This edition also comes with a couple of new introductions, helping to argue why this dusty old novel - and Brophy herself - are worthy of wider attention today. <br/><br/>I'd compare it to the later films of Lindsay Anderson, in that it feels both incredibly British, but also very European, trying to kick back at its Britishness at the same time as commenting upon it. There's doses of dazed Camus-style existentialism, plus a hint of Muriel Spark and Beryl Bainbridge's autobiographical works about bright young women in the post war era. It also echoes the genre of gay coming of age novels, and even a touch of the Beats when the location moves to Italy. <br/><br/>Although it's not as experimental as her later works (eg In Transit), I was particularly impressed by Brophy's device of carefully omitting the narrator's own name throughout the whole book, except at one crucial moment (as far as I can make out).