- Author : Will Self
- Publisher : Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
- Date : 2007-12-01
- Category : Fiction
- Pages : 288
- ISBN : 9780802199348
in PDF, EPUB, Tuebl, Mobi and Kindle:
Will Self's DORIAN is a "shameless imitation" of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray that reimagines the novel in the milieu of London's early-80s art scene, which for liberated homosexuals were a golden era of sex, drugs and decadence before the AIDS epidemic struck later in the decade. It is "an age in which appearances matter more and more and more. Only the shallowest of people won't judge by them." Young Dorian Gray, just out of school, is a trust funded, impressionable Adonis-like blonde with none of the cynicism of the characters who end up corrupting his innocence even as they love him for it. He arrives in London to help socialite and philanthropist Phyllis Hawtree with her project of running a shelter for young drug addicts. He knows he is strikingly beautiful, that he could be a male model, but he tries not to get too caught up in the "looks thing." Basil Hallward, an artist friend of Phyllis's son Henry Wotton, meets Dorian and immediately falls for him, asking him to pose for a video installation called Cathode Narcissus, wherein Dorian is surrounded by nine television monitors which project images of himself looking into a mirror. In the book's final pages, we discover that Dorian is so taken by the images that he makes a wish that they will age while he remains eternally young. And indeed, Dorian soon swears he sees some faint traces of aging in the images. Meanwhile Dorian is so impressed with the witty, sophisticated banter between Baz and Wotton that he immediately wants to be part of their world (he is described as a social chameleon, easily slipping into the characteristics and fashions and mannerisms of those around him). Dorian, then, breaks up with his college girlfriend and takes up with Baz's friend Wotton, a rich, intelligent but affectless homosexual boozer and cokehead (and careless Jaguar driver) who has a loveless marriage of convenience with the socialite Lady Victoria, a somewhat batty woman who is fine to live in denial of her h