30 May, 2008


Warwick Collins

This also came from the Librarything Early Reviewer programme; it was my allocation in the February batch of books ~ apparently the publisher had some difficulties delivering; it has not taken me three months to read it! It is quite a sweet book, taking after the main character, who seems to be a very sweet man.

Ez, for Ezekiel, is an immigrant from Jamaica, living in London with his wife and son; we follow him as he makes his way to his new place of employment, a public convenience near an Underground station; there, he meets the two other major characters, his fellow employees, who have already had experience in the business of keeping the place clean and acceptable. As it turns out, under the Council's direction, a large part of that “acceptable” means keeping the cubicles free from homosexual encounters, which appear to be the norm between random strangers in the book's London. The problem for Ez and his colleagues arises when, on the orders of the Council's representative, they start to clamp down on the homosexuals, whom they call “reptiles”, the income from the place goes down quite substantially, to the point, in fact, that the place is going to be closed down completely. In between all this and the working out of a final solution to the problem, we read of Ez's home life, and his relationships with his two co-workers, none of which is perfectly smooth, but each of which Ez is willing to work at, to differing degrees.

All in all, this is a nice portrait of a man who is willing to go through life as it comes to him, not pushing it, accepting what it gives, and making lemonade from the lemons that sometimes come his way. One leaves the book liking Ez and his wife, hoping that things work out for them, and their son, and the new business of the Gents.

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