Books by David Watmough

THY MOTHER'S GLASS by David Watmough
Released: Aug. 20, 1993

Should Davey come out to his mother? That's the only issue in this tedious gay novel, which is stuck uncomfortably somewhere between the old-fashioned reticence of Forster's Maurice and the contemporary ambiance of an Armistead Maupin. A first US publication for this prolific Canadian novelist. The first third of this awkwardly structured novel—a mess of letters, diary entries, and narrative—covers the Bryants' family life in England during 1916-45 from the viewpoints of Davey and his strong-willed mother, Isabella. The latter was a professional working woman who then married a Cornish farmer and bore him three sons; Davey, her favorite, is a precocious chatterbox. Isabella will later drive a London ambulance during WW II and become friends with a Charlotte Churchfield. The two women are ``innocent Sapphists'' who ``do everything together except the bed thing.'' By now, Davey is a young sailor who's been arrested for importuning; though both his parents know of the incident, it's never discussed. Demobbed, Davey meets his first boyfriend and they vacation in Paris, where Davey finds a sugar-daddy who persuades him to study at the Sorbonne. Mama doesn't like it, but once again Anglo-Saxon attitudes prevail, and Davey's new relationship goes undiscussed. A year later, the smug freeloader falls in love with Ken, an American student, and emigrates to the States without taking leave of his doting, check-writing mother. Forward to San Francisco, 1960. Davey, now a journalist and still Ken's lover, is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Isabella, on a round-the-world cruise with Charlotte. How will she react to his gay circle? All goes swimmingly: there's a discreet dinner-party toast ``to the nature of things,'' and Davey realizes that being only half out of the closet suits him just fine. A tempest in a teapot, then, for a quite unlikable guy. Read full book review >