When Love Comes to Town Paperback
by Tom Lennon
A new edition of this acclaimed novel Meet Neil Byrne - try-scorer on the rugby field, prizewinning student, one of the in-crowd at the disco, regular guy, gay.
Presenting one face to the world and burying his true feelings in fantasy, Neil manages to keep his secret.
But when fantasy isn't enough and he becomes caught up in the bizarre subculture of Dublin's gay nightlife, the pretence must end.
It is the time for truth. The consequences are both hilarious and painful. Told with honesty, humour and originality, WHEN LOVE COMES TO TOWN brings a new type of hero to modern Irish fiction.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 192 pages
- Publisher: O'Brien Press Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/11/1993
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780862783617
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by Bembo
Neil Byrne is a popular Irish school guy coming up to is eighteenth birthday, a star rugby player, school prize winner, and always in demand. But he bears a heavy secret which, despite the fact that virtually all his straight friends are paired off and his remains single, no one suspects; he is gay. He has known this since the age of ten, but has so far been able to conceal the fact through his masculine attributes and successes, including a brief flirtation with a girl. He has secretly fallen for a younger lad at school, the beautiful blue-eyed blond guy with the cute behind, Ian.Finally no longer to able to contain himself he confess his sexuality, but only to his closest friends, and then is encouraged to venture into the gay bars of Dublin. He meets a new group of friends including a benevolent Sugar Daddy, and Shane, a handsome older guy of twenty five with whom he starts a relationship. But is Shane all he seems to be, and is he to be trusted? Yet all appears to be going reasonably well until Neil can no longer live with deceiving his parents, and eventually comes out to them with catastrophic results.Who will Neil be able to turn now, and can he rely on anyone? Throughout all his troubles he is plagued with doubts, and often sees suicide as an answer, is that now his only recourse?However Ian is never far from his thoughts, but he does not even know if Ian is gay.I found this an involving and enjoyable story, with a satisfying and very moving conclusion. The writing is interesting, especially when at times we see events from Neil’s perspective, as if we are following events as his mind rapidly flits from one thought to another. Recommended.
Review by innersmile
Ok, so this may not be a classic of literature! But this (somewhat short) coming out story set in the very catholic Ireland Republic (south Dublin) will keep those pages turning non-stop. In my opinion, the main downfall of this book are the very shallow and caricatural characters: the sugar daddy, the hunky boyfriend, the homophobic father, the fag hag, the disturbed best friend, the sympathetic sister, the loving but confused mother. They are there just to chorus effect and very seldom become real deep psychological characters. Fortunately, Neil, the main character, is very belivable, and his aches and doubts and funny remarks keep you involved and interested. The writing is swift, fast and light. The narrative really pushes forward, keeping everything at a very fast pace. And, even if this story has some moving tragic moments, most of the times the delicious irish humour is all there.
Review by kcarrigan
Look. I understand the context. Being gay in 1990 in Ireland was kind of a Big Deal. It just Wasn't Done. It deals a lot with homophobia and gay bashing and internalized homophobia. It felt very autobiographical. And maybe it was just the electronic version, but it was hard to tell sometimes when it was Neil thinking/dreaming and what was actually happening (especially the end, in the tree house). In 1993, writing about being gay and gay bashing, especially in such a Catholic country as Ireland, was novel. Now? It's very dated and, in fact, cliché. Maybe soon it will come around again to being remarkable. Gay bashing still happens. But it's becoming rarer in the English-speaking world. Same-sex marriage is legally-recognized in more and more places. Heck, my Irish-American grandparents (born in the Teens) had more of a problem with my dad getting a divorce than him being gay (he came out in 1996), from what I remember. American, yes, and several years after this book, but still. I'm worried that if I recommended this to any of my teens it would horrify and traumatize them.