Blond-haired, blue-eyed, Stephen Spear has the world falling at his feet. Stephen moves into a seedy apartment on William Street in Kings Cross where he meets Anthony Tallantire, a gay, and falls for him then and there. But, there are secrets Ant is hiding, and he runs away to America before Stephen can find out what they are.
Graeme Aitken's last novel was fabulous...in fifty ways. This novel is fabulous in fifty different ways...bitchy, funny, camp, tender, vain, glamorous, capricious, seductive...like Sydney itself where this tale of the city is set. Stephen Spear is everyone's golden boy (including his own). Blond-haired, blue-eyed, he has the world falling at his feet. And he's ready to trample all over it. He's eighteen, just left school and he's determined to take the advice of his famous mother - 'If you can't be good, be careful'; he's ready to be very bad, just as long as he doesn't get caught. Stephen moves into a seedy apartment on William Street in Kings Cross where he meets Anthony Tallantire - the only gay man he knows who still has chest hair - and falls for him then and there. There's only one small problem, Ant doesn't seem to respond to Stephen's overtures, which become more and more desperate. Stephen is not used to this - Ant is supposed to fall at his feet, which of course only makes Stephen want him more. Stephen can't understand Ant's indifference because he's exactly Ant's type. His last boyfriend, the scandalously promiscuous Kip, had the same blond good looks...but then perhaps Ant isn't over Kip yet. He still keeps his photo by his bed (despite Stephen's sly attempts to get rid of it) and spends long hours talking about him, until Stephen is driven half mad with boredom and frustrated desire. When Ant meets the ethereal Carson on New Year's Eve, thwarting Stephen's elaborate plans to get him off his face on ecstacy and into his bed, Stephen tries every devious thing he can think of to split them up, but nothing seems to penetrate their cosy domesticity...until Stephen hears a rumour from one of the transexuals working William Street that Carson used to be a sex worker. The only person who can confirm this is a prostitute, Suzie 69 (nothing to do with the sexual position - that's how old she looks), who seems to have mysteriously disappeared. Stephen is not willing to accuse Carson without a little more proof, and there's only one place to find it - in Carson's 'novel', a very thinly disguised autobiography. After much manoeuvering Stephen finally sneaks a look at Carson's computer and as he reads the appalling prose he becomes more and more convinced that Ant's boyfriend does indeed have a dark and dubious past. Unfortunately Carson has writer's block and hasn't finished more than a few chapters, so Stephen faces a tantalising (and very funny) wait for the incriminating evidence. But all this is eclipsed when Ant, in his silver cowboy suit, is discovered in a compromising position with a beefcake American at the Mardi Gras party. Carson moves out and Stephen moves in for the kill...except Ant seems to be caught up in a weird relationship with Kip - his picture is still by Ant's bed and when Ant and Stephen finally have sex, Ant repeats his name over and over. There are secrets Ant is hiding but he runs away to America before Stephen can find out what they are. Then one night Kip arrives distraught on Stephen's doorstep and finally those sad and tragic secrets are revealed...as is the truth behind Ant's indifference. In true quixotic style, Stephen follows his heart and flies to America to bring home the man he loves - and in the process discovers the rather unexpected truth behind Carson's mysterious past. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Graeme Aitken was born and raised in New Zealand, as anyone who has read his first novel, Fifty Ways of Saying Fabulous, will know. He now lives in Sydney and works in a bookshop on Oxford Street. Vanity Fierce is his second novel. SELLING POINTS A Sydney Tales of the City, Vanity Fierce is a funny, bitchy gay soap opera...and a sweet and tender love story. Fifty Ways of Saying Fabulous sold extremely well in both gay and mainstream markets and was released to rave reviews (most notably from Edmund White). It was also published in the UK to nationwide acclaim. ***Vanity
Graeme Aitken was born and raised in Central Otago, New Zealand but lives in Sydney, Australia where he works as a bookseller. Vanity Fierce is his second novel. His first novel Fifty Ways of Saying Fabulous was published in Australia, the UK and the U.S.A. It was also adapted as a feature film in New Zealand and was released in 2005. Graeme is also the editor of The Penguin Book of Gay Australian Writing.
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