William di Canzio’s Alec, inspired by Maurice, E. M. Forster’s secret novel of a happy same-sex love affair, tells the story of Alec Scudder, the gamekeeper Maurice Hall falls in love with in Forster’s classic, published only after the author's death.
Di Canzio follows their story past the end of Maurice to the front lines of battle in World War I and beyond. Forster, who tried to write an epilogue about the future of his characters, was stymied by the radical change that the Great War brought to their world. With the hindsight of a century, di Canzio imagines a future for them and a past for Alec—a young villager possessed of remarkable passion and self-knowledge.
Alec continues Forster’s project of telling stories that are part of “a great unrecorded history.” Di Canzio’s debut novel is a love story of epic proportions, at once classic and boldly new.
Playwright Di Canzio's canny debut retells E.M. Forster's pioneering gay classic, Maurice, from the point of view of the gamekeeper who ends up with the title character. Working-class Alec Scudder is born in 1893 Dorset, where he becomes a voracious reader while at school, then has his first sexual experience with a man before reluctantly leaving for a servant job at Michaelmount. Alec is soon sent from Michaelmount to Penge, where after several months he meets Maurice and begins a romance that consumes them both. The two men illicitly set up house and embark on "their life together as outlaws," but their happiness ends with the beginning of WWI: both enlist and are separated, with Alec going through war's "dripping faucet of terror" and hoping to reunite with Maurice. Di Canzio liberally quotes dialogue from Forster's novel for dozens of pages, creating a satisfying blend of fan fiction and intertextuality. The romance and the wartime scenes are particularly well rendered, as is a postwar episode featuring Alec in Cassis. Less compelling, however, are the subplots, such as one involving Maurice's sister Kitty. Forster is a high benchmark, but Di Canzio makes a noble effort in this inspired work.
This is a timeless story
The lives depicted in this book are universal. It’s the morals of the times that are small. A well written read that captured me. How can love possibly prevail not only against society but a world war and separation? Having read and seen Maurice this takes a story a while different level and with some satisfaction. This kept me guessing and This will be a favorite