Neil Bartlett's groundbreaking debut novel, now available as a Serpent's Tail classic, with a new introduction by the author; 'Stands head-and-shoulders above any British or American gay novel to have appeared in several years' Gay Times
It is 3am in The City, and in a dark corner of The Bar, two lovers collide in the beginnings of a passionate and violent affair.
Boy: nineteen, beautiful, ready for anyone to take him home, and 'O': the Older Man, cynical, unpredictable, and at the mercy of his personal demons. Their romance is orchestrated and observed by the owner of The Bar, Madame, who looks after her boys and ensures that their haven remains inviolate.
At once a joyful celebration of homosexual love and culture, and a devastating evocation of the homophobic climate which stemmed from the 80s AIDS crisis, Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall offers a decisively contemporary recasting of the traditional love story.
First published in 1990 and immediately acclaimed as the work of a bold new voice in English fiction, Neil Bartlett's powerful debut continues to shine with an ageless wisdom and wit.
About the Author
Born in 1958, Neil Bartlett has spent twenty-five years at the cutting edge of British gay culture. His ground-breaking study of Oscar Wilde, Who Was That Man? paved the way for a queer re-imagining of history; his first novel, Ready To Catch Him Should He Fall, was voted Capital Gay Book of The Year; his second, Mr Clive and Mr Page, was nominated for the Whitbread Prize. Both have since been translated into five European languages. Listing him as one of the country's fifty most significant gay cultural figures, the Independent said "Brilliant,beautiful, mischievous; few men can match Bartlett for the breadth of his exploration of gay sensibility". He also works as a director, and in 2000 was awarded an OBE for services to the theatre.
Brilliant,beautiful, mischievous; few men can match Bartlett for the breadth of his exploration of gay sensibility * Independent *
Exquisite ... a moving and erotic love story * Observer *
Stands head-and-shoulders above any British or American gay novel to have appeared in several years * Gay Times *
A triumph both in its execution and in its intent * Sunday Times *
A writer who can really change the way people think * Literary Review *
Profoundly moving and enriching. Bartlett has achieved what is almost impossible: he has written a novel about successful, happy love * The Glasgow Herald *
Sexual, elegiac, imaginative and powerfully written * Time Out *
Tender, brutal, explicit, erotic and moving... a fictional debut of staggering assurance and ability * Gay Times *
As good a novel as you are likely to read this year * Literary Review *
An exuberant individualist... his style is a disconcerting mix of the plush and the confrontational, underpinned by indignation at society's treatment of homosexuals * The Times *
Neil Bartlett has grabbed history by the collar and made bitter love to it... At the very moment gay existence is threatened by disease and a renewed puritanism, Bartlett has embraced what was alien and criminal or merely clinical and loved it into poignant life -- Edmund White
An extraordinary book... reveals what it is like to be gay in a city that, for the most part, pretends you don't exist * i-D *