The Plaster Fabric (20th Century)
"It is doubtful whether since male homosexuality was admitted as a subject for treatment in English fiction it has inspired a more satisfactory novel than Martyn Goff's The Plaster Fabric." - Spectator
"Mr. Goff's earnest handling of his extremely delicate subject, homosexuality, commends him to serious attention . . . The sense of impending doom, of the hostility of society, of insecurity, and the constant terror of betrayal are all well conceived." - John Betjeman, Daily Telegraph
When Martyn Goff's daring first novel, The Plaster Fabric, was published in 1957, homosexuality was illegal in Great Britain and both Goff and his publisher risked prosecution for the book's frank treatment of gay themes. Laurence "Laurie" Kingston, a former Air Force pilot now working as a bookseller and artist, is a man with a secret. Born gay, Laurie has spun a web of lies to conceal his homosexuality, which, if discovered, could cost him his job, his friends, and even his freedom. After a chance encounter one foggy night with Tom Beeson, a rugged soldier, Laurie finds himself falling in love. But the situation becomes complicated when Laurie's best friend, Susan, also falls for Tom. When Laurie becomes involved in this complicated triangle, he runs the risk of losing everything as the fabric of his carefully constructed life begins to chip away like flakes of plaster . . .
A novel that deserves a place alongside early gay classics like Rodney Garland's The Heart in Exile (1953) and Mary Renault's The Charioteer (1953), The Plaster Fabric is reprinted for the first time in this new edition, which includes a new introduction by Martin Dines and a reproduction of the original jacket art by John Minton.
Martin Dines is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the Kingston University, UK. He is the author of "Gay Suburban Narratives in American and British Culture" (Palgrave, 2010).
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