Jim has always liked Bob. They share one intimate sexual moment together before Bob leaves for the sea. Obsessed with Bob, Jim leaves eventually to seek for him. The task is difficult because Bob does not write back.

Jim ends up being a tennis trainer. He meets a famous actor, Paul, and Jim's first relationship begins. When Shaw, a writer, steps into Jim's life, Jim leaves Paul.

The relationships that Jim has do not last. Paul loves only one person - himself. The people Paul dates are not interesting enough to last for a considerable time period. Paul likes Jim, but does not favour Jim's success with his tennis training. He wants Jim all to himself.

Shaw is a man who delights in his own misery. He sees failures and invite them. Even when he has Jim, Shaw keeps foreseeing their relationship to fail. So when Maria shows up, Shaw is not even trying to fight for Jim. Instead, he lets the circumstances to lead to the doom of his relationship with Jim.

But Jim's relationships fail not because of Paul or Shaw's flaws. Jim's relationships fail because there is only one guy Jim seeks for - Bob. So, when Jim finds out that Bob has returned to his hometown, Jim heads for home too.

The City and The Pillar caught my attention as book reviews and articles continue to mention it as one of the best gay novels. What is impressive is that the book is written in the 40's. Searching hard for this book, I was glad to find a copy in my country, where gay themed books are banned. I was lucky.

The book is appealing. It tells of characters that I can care for. It talks of Jim, a charming and young gay, who is hiding his sexual orientation from his family. It talks of his years of coming-of-age. It talks in simple narration.

What appeals to me as well is the fact that nothing has changed. Well, not all. We are living in the new millenium. This book is written more than 50 years ago. 50 years, and yet the problems that gays face are almost the same. We live in fear of exposure of our identities when we are young. We face the situations of unable to love oneself. We are so obsessed with the love for one person, that we are willing to deny the attentions of others, just to have that one chance of ending our lives in a fairytale ending, with our dream prince charming as our love partner. We are miserable because we are so screwed up.

Jim lives in denial at first. Eventually he accepts who he is. And then, it comes to the family moments where the neverending questions of 'when are you going to get married?' keep popping up.

More than 50 years, and we still live the gay life back in the 40's.

Of course the gay world is more adventourous now. More wild and more daring. But still, the stunning thing is that the storyline is still very much applicable today. Still very much real.


  1. Faisal Admar said...
    oh, so you have done with this book? :) you really got lots of times then. i still got 2 books to finish. not lazy just not enough time for myself.

    can you photostat this book for me since its hard to get? :P
    Jon said...
    Why photostat???? Wanna know why I ask this? well, you have to find out. :D

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