Three young guys, Crispin, Jude and Myles, all three of them orphans, all three of them without any family to count for, and actually not even any idea of their own origins, are taken under guardianship by a wealthy gentleman, Philip Smallwood. At the beginning the story seems almost a schoolboys story, like some young adult novels set in boarding schools or similar. The three young men are really naïve, raised in the secluded walls of some remote school they have no idea of the outside world, and now that they have a taste of it, they are like inebriated. Of course they are young and passionate, and almost childish relationships intertwine them, some real, some imagined, some out of love, some out of jealousy. They soon discover they have something in common, all of them found in flagrante delicto with another boy at their own school, and so it’s almost natural for them to build this strange mix of friendship, brotherhood and love.
Then Philip enters the scene; I’m sincere, I was really expecting for Crispin (that is the main character, the one of the three boys who “talks” more) to fall in love for Philip: that would have been the logical evolution of a gothic novel, the young man falling in love for the dashing older man… but truth be told, I have never felt any “attraction” for Philip, and since we were “living” Crispin’s feeling, I suppose he was the one who was not attracted by Philip. In a way there were other supporting characters, like the Latin and Greek tutor, who were more interesting at Crispin’s eyes than Philip. But Crispin is proving his age, he is more attracted to Jude, maybe even to Myles, someone who resembles his lost lover Arch, the boy his same age who he loved at the boarding school.
I have to pay my homage to Erastes, since I started to understand where she was heading well in the working of the novel; I had a suspicious that the man who would have been Crispin’s lover was not so easy to pinpoint, but sincerely, I was not expecting the “dark” turn the story took almost in the end. It was a surprise but it was also quite right, once you put together all the pieces.
Amazon: Mere Mortals
Amazon Kindle: Mere Mortals
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (March 23, 2011)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott