elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

33 by J.J. South

There are different positive points in this novel, but probably what exceeds everything else is the flourished writing style; it seems that the author, instead of writing a book, is painting a very rich landscape or sculpting a very complex ensemble of statues, and so everything is carefully crafted. Sometime this positive side is so much that the reader is overwhelmed and this leads me to the second impression I had of the novel: it was like every chapter (33 of them) was a short story, and in a way you could easily read one, then stopping and starting the next one hours later without loosing the flows. There was a continuous time in the story, but to me it was clear that every chapter, long or short as it was, was a little story inside the bigger one.

Now lets talk about the title, 33, that was also the floor in which one of the characters lived (and since the main heroes met in an elevator that is not a superfluous information, 33, that is also a very special number in literature: 33 are the chapters of the Divina Commedia by Dante, 33 is Jesus Christ’s age when he was crucified; but even if I tried to find a link between these classic themes and the novel, I was not able to find one, so I think the author simply chose the number without hidden agenda.

The story basically evolves around two men, Justin and Rick, who, as I said, met in an elevator and fell in love at first sight. From the moment they met there is no one else for them, and they live in each other space that sometime it was almost claustrophobic; but their love was so absolute that seemed impossible for everything else to enter the picture. For that reason, the only subplot that was outside it, strange happenings in an isolated mine, was so much in the background that for most of the story I didn’t understand why the author was bothering the reader with such details. Only in the end there is an explanation and everything comes to a right end.

Until then, the main subplot is the self-nominated role of Justin and Rick as matchmakers; apparently any man who crosses path with them is interested in one of them, sexually interested, or in both of them; but Justin and Rick are basically complete with each other and they don’t need any other pieces to their puzzle, and so they decide to match every man with someone else: a string of men, each of them corresponding to a different chapter with their name (John, Lou, Matt, Scott, Damien, Shorty), will enter the story to then being soon paired with their soul mate.

A closing note on the “sexy” side of the book: actually it was unexpected since, from the cover I had the idea of an ethereal story, on the trend of “angel don’t have sex”; well forget it, sex in this story is primary and carnal, dirty and raw, but always in the name of love.

Amazon Kindle: 33 a gay love story

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art (photograph) by Bruno Martin Dit Latour
Tags: author: j.j. south, genre: contemporary, length: novel, review
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