Sex Safari - Peter Gilbert
Iíve had this book for a long time Ė Cerisaye reviewed it ages ago. I did start to read it last year, but I get bored easily and gave it up. Desperate for something new to read, I picked it up again last week and was determined to get through it. Now, is this a heavyweight polemic on gay life? No! Itís porn! How the hell can porn be boring?
I can only explain by contrasting this with James Learís brilliant novels. Theyíre full of sparkling writing that is way too good for porn. The sex in them is inventive, never repetitive and really, really hot. This was just flat. For a start, it tries too hard to be a novel sprinkled with sex rather than concentrating on being good porn with a vague plot. Set in Africa in the 1970s, it tells the wholly unlikely story of a young British RAF officer who is posted to Kenya to build runways. Robert meets a succession of young men, having seduced the seventeen-year-old son of some fellow Brits who invite him to stay with them for the weekend. Robertís tastes are wholly focused on schoolboys and conveniently a whole raft of them have been kept behind for an extra year as their exam results have been lost, delaying their departure for university in England. George, Martin, Raymond, and many others, come and go (hah) through Robertís house in the hills. Tied in with this is some sort of treasure hunt for a lost golden cup, pages of conversation about Africa and Kenyans and snakes (real ones for the most part). I lost track of which boy was which, but it didnít really matter. I just got bored again and couldnít be bothered to work on it too much. The sex was all the same. Robertís obsession with these boys c***s bordered on the ludicrous, occasionally straying into the distasteful.†
Iíve finished it though. Yey for me. Go out and buy some James Lear now (Iíve just ordered his new novel The Back Passage!!!)
I like gay porn, written and visual.† But not any old rubbish.† So itís nice to find an erotic gay novel thatís perfect bedtime reading.† Undemanding, sexy, and wicked fun.† Yes, thereís a plot, but to be honest you could easily skip that altogether and stick with the steamy sex without missing anythingÖsomething about a Boys Own adventure seeking buried treasure, a gold cup from a horse race, hidden by white settlers during the Mau Mau wars.† You can tell where my priorities lay.
Set in Kenya during the 1970s, within the British expat community, the novel features a group of sex hungry youths on the cusp of adulthood, and a horny older man only too willing to fill the role of teacher.† Amazingly to us in more suspicious times, the parents are quite relieved to have their sons kept occupied during the long summer gap between school and university.
Air Force officer Robert is living alone in the bush because his wife Pat is home in England.† Heís just admitted heís gay and is never going to change, ending a sham marriage.† Robertís got a yearning for company, so he jumps at the offer by a local colonial administrator to spend weekends with his family.†
Imagine how Robert feels when he ends up sharing a room with their son, Martin.† He turns out to be a precocious adolescent, keen to take advantage of the older manís experience in the ways of† male pleasure.† Martin passes on this sexual education to his friends.† They donít like girls, and theyíve already been experimenting with their bodies, finding out what causes them pleasure.† Robert fully appreciates the delights of sexually aroused young men, so the arrangement suits him very well.† Though he must overcome early fears about the risks canoodling with Martin with his younger brother next door and his appalling mother, Catherine, watching late night TV downstairs.
The book is well written, and its tone rather engaging.† Robert is nice.† He is so pathetically grateful to the boys.† Itís a raunchy read, nicely erotic rather than pornographic.† Thereís a beautiful moment (the first of many) when Robert unwraps Martinís Kikoi, a sort of Kenyan sarong, unveiling hidden delights within, like opening a Christmas present.† Itís not exactly PC I suppose. The boys are under-age, and the sex is explicit, yet thereís an innocence to it all thatís really quite charming.† Well, I thought so anyway.† Robertís motivations are healthy and the boys perfectly complicit.† Martin makes the first move and is really quite insistent.† The boys use Robert as cover for their own activities, and heís happy to oblige in return for favours.†
Poor Robert echoed my frustration with his resentment of the pesky treasure hunt for dragging the boys away from their pursuit of bodily pleasures.† The story turns into sweet romance, when Robert meets Martinís friend Raymond, a boy obsessed with snakes (very Freudian), and ends happily with no one hurt or damaged.† All in all, good escapist funÖand very very hot.†