It's About Your Friend: 11/24/08
My reading choices tend to bunch up thematically. It's About Your Friend by Phillip Scott follows up on Stephen Fry's The Liar except it pulls fewer punches.
It's About Your Friend is two parallel novels that only come crashing together at the very end. There is Aaron, a tax accountant recently out of the closet who is desperately in love with a male hooker. He decides to prove his love for the shady Fergal by bilking a cat lady out of her lottery winnings. The other story focuses on Nicholas, a hack actor suffering from a nervous breakdown during the filming of Galactic Trilogy 3.
The cut-throat nature of both tax accounting and filmmaking kept bringing me back to Ugly Betty if the show were told from the point of view of Wilhelmina Slater's assistant / henchman Marc St. James. Like Ugly Betty, It's About Your Friend suffers from too many things going on at once. In the television show the sets are at least distinct enough to pick up when the narrative has jumped between threads but in the novel the jumps aren't always obvious. About midway through the novel I decided it would be easier to read all of Aaron's scenes and then go back and read Nicholas's scenes.
Nicholas in It's About Your Friend shares Adrian Healey's (The Liar) love of Noel Coward. That connection (and of course the crude language and gay themes) made me naturally compare the two novels. Both have too many characters and crude senses of humor. Both books are flawed but I enjoyed It's About Your Friend more than I did The Liar. It doesn't try to be clever and that allows a greater focus on the (albeit over-the-top) plot.