Mr Norris wants everyone to know that he is gay. The problem is, no one will believe him. His position isn't helped by the fact that he is living with his ex-wife and that he has never had sex with a man. Plain and Normal is James Wilcox's long awaited new novel. In his funniest novel yet, James Wilcox introduces us to a Mr Norris, a man who just ...
Mr Norris wants everyone to know that he is gay. The problem is, no one will believe him. His position isn't helped by the fact that he is living with his ex-wife and that he has never had sex with a man. Plain and Normal is James Wilcox's long awaited new novel. In his funniest novel yet, James Wilcox introduces us to a Mr Norris, a man who just wants his life to be plain and normal. Everything will be much easier if everyone is clear about who he is. That he is gay, for example. But unfortuantely life isn't that easy and people will keep on drawing the wrong conclusions. In this hilarious new novel Mr Norris gets in deeper and deeper. Only Mr Norris could go to a gay club on the wrong night, and, being too polite to leave, get into conversation with a homophobic lorry driver called Rocco. But then no one in this novel is as plain or as normal as they seem.
Publishers Weekly, 1998-07-06 A "plain and normal" life is the wistful wish of Severinus Lloyd Norris, the protagonist of Wilcox's appealing new novel. Like the lovable eccentrics of Modern Baptists and Sort of Rich, Lloyd grew up in Tula Springs, La., where he married pregnant Pearl Fay when they were both high-school seniors. Pearl Fay lost the babyŠ just as well, since Lloyd was not the father. Pearl Fay knew from the beginning that Lloyd was gay, but it was only when she wanted a divorce to marry someone else that she forced him to come out of the closet. Now Lloyd is back living with his ex in Yonkers, where she hectors him to be more forthright about his sexuality and he commutes to his job as a computer programming executive in New York, where he is afraid that he'll be fired if he comes out. In fact, at 43, bald, timid, overpolite Lloyd (always called "Mr. Norris" by Wilcox, although the other characters are identified by their given names) has yet to find a male lover. Lloyd's search for romance, as well as his reluctant advance up the corporate ladder and his efforts to placate his spastic colon, occasion genuine humor. Other comic scenarios are not as successful, for Wilcox advances the plot through a series of misunderstandings and farcical confrontations, all of which give the characters a chance to proclaim either their approval of homosexuality or their homophobic prejudices; in every case, however, "doormat" Lloyd turns out to be the victim of their manic approval or intolerance. While Wilcox's humor is affectionate, the cast of supporting characters are almost uniformly self-centered, obtuse, manipulative and devious. It's as if in moving his characters from Tula Springs to Manhattan, Wilcox has endowed them with a hard edge that makes them far less appealing than their precursors. In the end, this novel is a comedy of errors that tickles the funnybone but fails to tug at the heartstrings in the way that Wilcox's fans have come to expect. Agent, Amanda Urban; editor, Rick Kot. (Sept.)
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