This is an honest, engaging and gentle tale about growing up gay. It's very English and not at all self-indulgent. An atmospheric read, I could smell and touch the surroundings. It's also quite smooth and easy going and I read it through quickly.
Yet secret ambition also gestures in the direction of something more abstract, for which nameless need there is no workable definition, only a sense of menace that grabs you by the throat on dark nights when the radiator strikes thirteen. Men with beards will tell you that it's illimitable desire, that it's the ego, that it's greed. For me, though, it's waking up on a day like today to find that your lovely garden has become a rebuke to the rest of your perfectly manageable but unlovely life. It's what's left unsatisfied when a lot of luck has come your way, and you still feel guiltily cheated. It's the thin, distant, growling wave of suspicion that, whatever else it turns out to be, it's bound to be your fault.