THE LAUGHTER OF HEROES by Jonathan Neale

THE LAUGHTER OF HEROES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A first novel about a puppeteer, dying of AIDS, whose circle of ex-lovers and friends decide to take him to Disney World. Neale, an American who's lived in London for 20 years, pulls off a tragicomic success that entertains with a light touch while doing justice to the pathos of its subject. When the story opens, AIDS-afflicted John--deported from China when his medication is discovered--dreams of going to a Tibetan monastery. Instead, he returns to London, to a housing association flat, where his sister Claire tends to him and rounds up The Firm- -ex-lover Paul, and buddies Mark, Babur, and Keith. All try to show love to him and then hit upon the idea of taking him to Disney World, a place his father Bill was never able to take him. (Bill has learned of his son's condition and comes to accept it.) Neale provides sharp portraits of the group, sometimes touching, sometimes funny, and also introduces a Special Agent in Florida who likes to pistol-whip criminals and ``expedite the judicial process.'' Eventually, these two plots meet--the group, including Bill, flies to Florida, but John is deported and goes instead with Paul and Bill to the Bahamas, where they fly with a drug-dealer and get arrested by the Special Agent, who then cuts a deal and lets everybody go in return for drugs and a special favor. Neale manages to walk a thin line by treating such a subject frankly--but also by surrounding it with a lot of engaging humor. A writer to watch.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-85242-279-3
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993




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