Sex Gets in the Way
Two gay lives, one comfortable and middle class, the other working class and challenging, set in England, Australia and the high seas.
A doctor discovers one of his patient's cook in a shelter on the Bournemouth cliffs. She is pregnant and ill – and dies giving birth to a son. The GP’s wife is willing to adopt the boy, but her husband thinks it would be unfair on their son, James. The boy, Henry, is sent to an orphanage where, at eleven, he is seduced by the priest in charge. He joins the Merchant Navy and becomes a steward on the Queen Elizabeth. Meanwhile, the more privileged James discovers that he is gay – and that Henry is as well. Throughout Henry’s life he meets James on and off, and longs to be like him.
This is the story of two gay lives, one a struggle and the other smooth sailing. It is also British humour at its best, in the tradition of Evelyn Waugh and Ronald Firbank, which through humour makes a poignant case about the snobbery of the middle classes.