London Triptych, Paperback
3 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Three men, three lives and three eras sinuously entwine in a dark, startling and unsettling narrative of sex, exploitation and dependence set against London's strangely constant gay underworld. Jack Rose begins his apprenticeship as a rent boy with Alfred Taylor in the 1890s, and finds a life of pleasure and excess leads him to new friendships - most notably with the soon-to-be infamous Oscar Wilde.

A century later, David tells his own tale of unashamed decadence while waiting to be released from prison, addressing his story to the lover who betrayed him.

Where their paths cross, in the politically sensitive 1950s, the artist Colin Read tentatively explores his sexuality as he draws in preparation for his most ambitious painting yet - 'London Triptych'. Rent boys, aristocrats, artists and felons populate this bold debut as Jonathan Kemp skilfully interweaves the lives and loves of three very different men across the decades.




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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Mediocre and pretentious, with three nasty main characters, unfortunately. It was a relief to finish. However, the writing does have potential.

Review by

I was disappointed by this book. Given that it was in the Green Carnation prize shortlist and was a "Recommended read" from GTW bookshop I was expecting more. The original idea behind the book of exploring the relationship Oscar Wilde had with Alfred Taylor's "renters", who by testifying against him in court were his downfall, was by far the most interesting aspect of the book. The other two parts of the "triptych" didn't seem to add very much and I certainly didn't warm to the characters.

Review by

This book has an engaging and unusual story covering a period of 100 years with very good charachterisation. I read this book with a smile on my face, as the voices were so immediate and fresh. Highly recommended.

Also by Jonathan Kemp