Fiction is the magic that works for me more than any other form of creativity that takes me to other worlds to experience them. Sometimes those worlds are far away. Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf, come to mind. Then, there are others whose worlds are closer to home or closer to the home where I believe I ought to be. I became a vegetarian and a vegan before I admitted to myself that I was gay. I had known all along, of course. But, as we all know, there is a universe between to be and to do. So, in my twenties and thirties I devoured gay fiction to help me discover who I was and was not. I have not read any gay fiction for a long while. Not because I do not need to do so—I do feel more self-aware about who I am than ever before—but due to my literary tastes evolving. These issues are further explored in my book, Growl.
Recently, I began to learn about a new gay novel, The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis, that piqued my attention. I identified a commonality between us in that my story and Louis’s is about a boy growing up in a working class family. The boy struggles with the confusion of learning who he is as he emerges into a world that he is in conflict with and is at odds with him. Thereafter, there are no similarities between me and Eddy Bellegueule in the novel and its author, Edouard Louis.
The writing style is one that I now no longer enjoy. It’s too crisp and brief to my literary tastes. Nonetheless, the diary-like, personal narrative style succeeds in building a compelling story of the physical and psychological challenges to growing up gay in a straight world. Every now and then, there are references to animal issues that had a particular impact for me but otherwise this is not a novel that directly makes the links between being gay and a vegan animal rights advocate. Lord knows that those links do exist and they have yet to be explored in any meaningful way in fiction that I know of.
The End of Eddy deserves the attention it is receiving. Its arrival into the USA is happening now. Catch it while you can.