Edward, the narrator of the sex-filled romp Great Pleasures, wanders from one Manhattan bar to another picking up tricks. His nights are an endless litany of one night stands with hot young things. But all these hookups come with a sense of angst for Edward; he is thirty-seven and he fears, because of his encroaching age, that his chance of meeting someone to have a stable partnership with is rapidly dwindling. Author Edward Southgate, in the very readable Great Pleasures, gives us a snapshot of a man, in the thrall of youth, grappling with growing older. The narrator wants a relationship with the potential for long-term stability, but the quick hook-ups always beckon.

Even when the narrator takes off for Fort Lauderdale for a vacation, he sees nothing but beautiful men and, in between, as if a taunting reminder, he witnesses other older men, in their 40s and 50s, still drooling and trying to capture the attention of younger guys. Is this to be Edward’s fate, too?

And though Edward flees from Fort Lauderdale, the memory of the trip always stays with him, as if calling him back; his eyes and cock already stiff at the sight of another young, handsome, good looker. And I must say, Edward sure knows how to pick them up, ooh la la! Yet still, this reader couldn’t help but wonder what New York City is this that a bounty of handsome men are always readily available, Sex and the Gay City? Being a lifelong resident of Manhattan (up to one point), I did have to wonder…

But I must admit there was a chuckle at how easily he builds these relationships, only to know they’re not going anywhere except straight to bed. Anal, oral, condom, condomless, Edward’s luck is always with him, knock on wood…. If you want to read about luscious handsome guys in bed, this is the book for you; they’re almost on every page.

In between the narrator’s autobiographical statements, there are deeper conjectural observations about life in general, about the narrator cleansing his body, or bringing his apartment to order, little statements that illustrate the narrator’s life is not a total sexual free-for-all. But then Edward goes out and off again, taking on another trick and starts the hedonistic process all over again.



Great Pleasures
By Edward Southgate
Bernabel Books
Paperback, 9780692207631, 236 pp.
April 2014

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