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Jack Holmes and His Friend, By Edmund White


Wise, droll and warm, this novel tracks the long "bromance" of a trend-hopping gay journalist and his straight best mate - an erring family man from an old Virginia clan - from Mad Men days into the Aids-haunted Eighties.

As a chronicle of Manhattan manners, it has a robust precision. But the book shines as a new Symposium: a pin-sharp yet large-hearted dialogue about love and loss.

Jack and Will alike struggle to square devotion with desire. For Jack, "people are obstacle courses". White tells us how to fall over them with grace.