Then they talked about the mediocrity of provincial life, how stifling it was, how fatal to one’s illusions.
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
‘What do I really want? Do I know? Well, I know what I don’t want. I don’t want a life of settled ease with Colin, peppered with a series of casual encounters. I want a lover. A real lover. Someone to bond with on every level …’
It’s the 1980s in rural Suffolk, and Evan has high expectations when he flees the farm and moves in with Colin, but his dreams and illusions are shattered when, bored with country life, he embarks on a series of disastrous affairs …
As my epigraph suggests, I conceived this novel as a modern reworking of Madame Bovary. I even gave my central characters, Evan Barstow and Colin Baverstock, the same initials as Emma and Charles. However, it soon took on a life of its own and, despite hints of impending tragedy, became essentially a comedy of growing up.
‘I enjoyed Small Town Blues! What a wonderful story. A brilliant portrait of one of those gorgeous, awful gay boys we’ve all met at some time or other. The ones that have ‘ideas’ but no discernible talent; who leave a trail of broken hearts in their wake. The book skewers their vanity and narcissism
masterfully–but there’s so much sympathy for them too. Kindness and
forgiveness. By the end, I almost felt guilty for wishing Evan to get
his comeuppance. (Almost!)’ – Diarmuid
‘I thoroughly enjoyed Small Town Blues, especially the mix of humour and seriousness in following Evan’s efforts to become a writer, his hopeless affairs with the various men he comes across and poor Colin’s relegation to cooking the suppers! Evan’s shifts of mood are vividly depicted too, as well as his work in the art gallery and his attraction to the London scene. The account of the two men’s trip to Paris is especially enjoyable’ – Paulina