Title: Sunday’s Child (Geoffry Chadwick Misadventures #1)
Author: Edward O. Phillips
Publisher: ReQueered Tales
Release Date: July 16th 2019
Genre(s): Mid 20th Century Gay Life; Maturing Queer
Page Count: 243 pages
Reviewed by: Bob-O-Link
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Lawyer Geoffry Chadwick is 50, Canadian, single, gay and, after a brief struggle with a hustler who tries to shake him down, a murderer. Herein lies the device for this macabre, funny, first novel. Although Geoffry must dispose of the body—which he does by dropping off sections of it around town at night—the trauma of the murder affords him the opportunity to reminisce and ruminate: on the recent termination of his affair with a history teacher; on the not-so-recent deaths of his wife and daughter; on the alcoholism of his mother; on growing old; on being gay. The visit of a nephew and the New Year’s festivities only serve to intensify his thoughts. Although Chadwick is abrasively disdainful early on, he is fascinating when he loosens up. Phillips keeps the reader hopping with throwaway quotations from Donne and scatalogical references and puns.
This edition includes an exclusive 2019 foreword by Alexander Inglis.
A Books in Canada Best First Novel Finalist 1981
Bob-O-Link’s Aside No 1: Notwithstanding the Blurb, above, a better and more extensive introduction to Sunday’s Child is found in the new edition’s Forward, by Alexander Inglis, which, of course, also serves up a truly rave review. The problem – one must access the novel to get the Forward – unless you cleverly read over a friend’s shoulder.
Despite the rampant hubris in much of today’s gay society, after God rested on the seventh day many of us did not promptly march down Christopher Street well-armed with banners and attitude. So, though old enough when Sunday’s Child was first published in 1981, either I missed reading it, or there wasn’t sufficient light in my closet permitting me to do so.
This marvelous novel is easily capable of taking us back 50 years into history (a gay life time!), when we suffered antediluvian prejudices and spoke to each other with effeminate terms (“Get you, Mary”) and so many gays still pretentiously emulated the “Queen’s” English. This novel is, as they might have said, quite a hoot!
There can’t be many new books with quite so much elan as Sunday’s Child, with its constant, brilliant repartee and the sparkling aphorisms that quite perfectly fit the contexts. The smart language appeals to our intellectual natures – or persuades us that we are much brighter than we know ourselves to be.
And then the book’s the tone acutely changes, and we find ourselves into a detailed chapter in which Geoffry ended of his long-term affair with married Christopher. Much as the author has intimately familiarized us with our hero, we now have a deeper and more touching reveals of a genuine person. Those same dabs of a witticism become throw cloths to disguise his impending loss and pain.
So few write as smartly as Mr. Philip. The story line seems but a convenient hangar onto which he drapes his writing skills. The quality of bon mots and aphorisms are not strain’d, but droppeth as the gentle rains!
Ex. 1: “She turns on and off like a dishwasher.”
Ex. 2: “Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia.”
Ex. 3: “He was a true Christian who found it impossible to believe in God.”
Ex. 4: “Being grown up means never having to say you’re sorry.”
And, giving in to my wont for using quotes to prove my opinion and to close the sale:
Ex. 5: “No thanks. I already know that my Redeemer liveth, and when the trumpet shall sound I would prefer it be in someone else’s ear. The last time I went to the Messiah I fell asleep and was apparently the only member of the audience who didn’t stand during the Hallelujah Chorus.”
Not to worry, there is so much more!
Bob-O-Link’s Aside No 2: ReQueered Tales has embarked on a task to save years of old gay and lesbian mystery fiction from becoming obscure. Given their proposed list of future editions for re-issuance, please keep them in mind for your vast enjoyment.