Jack Holmes and His Friend by Edmund White
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

In chapter after chapter, White proves himself to be one of the finest practitioners of angst-ridden scene making about people in love with desire and desirous for real love.
-NPR

Synopsis

Many straight men and gay men are best friends, but if the phenomenon is an urban commonplace it has never been treated before as the focus of a major novel.

Jack Holmes is in love, but the man he loves never shares his bed. The other men Jack sleeps with never last long and he dallies with several women. He sees a shrink and practices extreme discretion about his gay adventures since the book begins in the 1960s, before gay liberation, and ends after the advent of AIDS in the 1980s. Jack's friend, Will Wright, comes from old stock, has aspirations to be a writer, and like Jack works on the Northern Review, a staid cultural quarterly. Will is shy and lonely-and Jack introduces him to the beautiful, brittle young woman he will marry. Over the years Will discovers his sensuality and almost destroys his marriage in doing so. Towards the end of the 1970s Jack's and Will's lives merge as they both become accomplished libertines.

Jack Holmes and his Friend deploys Edmund White's wonderful perceptions of American society to dazzling effect, as character after character is delicately and colourfully rendered and one social milieu after another glows in the reader's mind. He is a connoisseur of the nuances of personality and mood, and here unveils his very human cast in all their radical individuality. New York itself is a principle character with its old society and its bohemians rich and poor, with its sleek European immigrants and its rough-and-tumble transplanted Midwesterners. With narrative daring and a gifted sense of the rueful submerged drama of life, the novel is a beautifully sculpted exploration of sexuality and sensibility.
 

About Edmund White

See more books from this Author
Edmund White is the author of many novels, including A Boy's Own Story, The Beautiful Room Is Empty, The Farewell Symphony, and, most recently, Hotel de Dream. His nonfiction includes City Boy and other memoirs; The Flâneur, about Paris; and literary biographies and essays. White lives in New York and teaches at Princeton.
 
Published January 24, 2012 by Bloomsbury USA. 400 pages
Genres: Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Jack Holmes and His Friend
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Kate Christensen on Jan 27 2012

Inhabiting a body could be said to be the essential truth of being, the animal experience shared by us all. And the body never lies.

Read Full Review of Jack Holmes and His Friend: A... | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Alex Clark on Jan 20 2012

...its two female characters...resemble cardboard cutouts with convenient characteristics grafted on to them; White refers obliquely to Jack's disastrous childhood too much for us to ignore and too little for it to be of genuine interest...

Read Full Review of Jack Holmes and His Friend: A... | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Jan 19 2012

In chapter after chapter, White proves himself to be one of the finest practitioners of angst-ridden scene making about people in love with desire and desirous for real love.

Read Full Review of Jack Holmes and His Friend: A... | See more reviews from NPR

Reader Rating for Jack Holmes and His Friend
63%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 56 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×