: Shall I look for some gifs?
Mish: No. No gifs.
Nick: Why not?
Mish: You'll just look for something shocking and bloody. I don't want to be grossed out by our review.
Nick: Okay... you start, though. I need another drink.
Mish: Isn't that your third?
Nick: Are you counting my drinks, woman? Just start.
Mish: So I understand you and Giulio had a little wager going that I couldn't handle this. I admit is was a bit rough for me but I made it through.
Nick: Giulio doubted you. Me? Never. Maybe you should tell everyone about the plot.
Mish: That's the easy part. The book was written in the 1950's but still really stands up. Tom is approached by Mr. Greenleaf to help him try to track down his son in Europe. Tom, a bit of a con artist, decides to take the free ride to Europe and try to convince Richard (Dickie) to come home. When he gets there, Tom decides to stay on in the small Italian village and take advantage as long as he can.
Nick: So I think I'll give a little bit of a character sketch of our boy Tom. Sound okay, Mish?
Nick: Tom is nuts. I think the correct word is sociopath, but let's go with nuts.
Mish: Nuts works for me.
Nick: Tom has no personality of his own. He even looks in mirrors to try and understand his own emotions. When Tom meets Dickie (love that name) he sees a personality and life that he'd like to have. I spent a lot of the book wondering whether Tom's attraction to Dickie was sexual.
Mish: It struck me throughout how asexual he was. I couldn't decide if that was because the book was written in the 1950s, his lack of persona, or what.
Nick: I decided (with Giulio's help) that Tom would be gay if he had a personality of his own, but his sexuality is very tied up in narcissism.
Mish: I thought he was likely gay too. But he didn't know what to do with it.
Nick: We agree as usual. Now to some spoilers! Tom is attracted to everything about Dickie and wants to be with him, but Dickie grows tired of Tom and so Tom does a very bad thing in a boat.
Mish: That was about the time I think Tom decide he actually wanted to be
Dickie more than he wanted to be with Dickie.
Nick: Tom becomes Dickie in public and private; it is a complete transformation and for the first time in his life Tom feels like a real person. This is the brilliance of this book. I never rooted for Tom, but I was fascinated by him as he went about his bloody business.
Mish: I love a good anti-hero.
Nick: And I love a good murder.
Mish: Or two.
Nick: Particularly with homoerotic overtones... undertones? Help me, Mish.
Mish: I think it's overtones.
Nick: Thanks, kitten. Anyway, how are we going to rate this book?
Mish: I gave it 5 stars. The fact that I could love a book with no romance, no sex, and a good amount of blood and violence? That says a lot.
Nick: Then 5 stars it is! Would you like another drink?
Mish: If you're buying.
Nick: You betcha.
Mish: I hear there are more books in the series.
Nick: I'm game.
Mish: Just tell me when and where and I am yours.
Nick: Soon. When you're done howling at the moon with your European buddies.
Mish: How the fuck do you make howling noises?
Mish: Yeah that.