Alex and James are cousins who both attend the prestigious Knox Hall Boys School. Alex finds himself drawn toward another student named Ralph, but is unsure of what his interest in the older boy might mean. When Ralph is expelled for admitting his homosexuality, Alex then finds himself hauled before the school board for questioning. Although no intimacy between the two boys has taken place, some board members are not convinced. Alex adamantly feels his place at the school is no longer viable, and begs his parents to take him and James out. Alexs childhood sweetheart, Frances, is ordered by her parents to stay away from Alex, because they feel he is a bad influence. Alex is deeply hurt by this; he becomes rebellious, withdrawn and abusive. Two years later, Alex and Ralph meet again, unexpectedly. An affair begins, but Ralph is under pressure from his family to marry. Since Alex is still sexually attracted to girls, hes unable to make a commitment to Ralph, who goes ahead with his marriage. This moving story about young men who want different things out of life is sensitively expressed in all its nuances in Alternative Desires.
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