While England Sleeps

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Viking, 1993 - Fiction - 304 pages
1 Review
Set against the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe, While England Sleeps tells the story of a love affair between Brian Botsford, an upper-class young writer, and Edward Phelan, an idealistic, self-educated employee of the London Underground and a Communist Party member. Though by far the better educated of the two, Brian is also more callow, convinced that his homosexuality is something he will outgrow. Edward, on the other hand, possesses "an unproblematic capacity to accept" both Brian and the unorthodox nature of their love for each other - until one day, at the urging of his wealthy Aunt Constance, Brian agrees to be set up with a "suitable" young woman named Philippa Archibald ... and soon enough Edward is pushed to a point of crisis. Fleeing, he volunteers to fight Franco in Spain, where he ends up in prison. And Brian, responsible for Edward's plight, must pursue him across Europe, and into the violent chaos of war.

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Review: While England Sleeps

User Review  - Kevin - Goodreads

A nice stab at historical gay romance. Leavitt's at his best I think in his contemporary work, especially his short stories, but this one was sweet, and not your typical "it's rough being gay in olden times" story. This was a pleasant diversion. Read full review


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About the author (1993)

David Leavitt's first collection of stories, "Family Dancing," was a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award & the PEN/Faulkner Prize. "The Lost Language of Cranes" was made into a BBC film, & "While England Sleeps" was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize. Leavitt is also the author of "Equal Affections," "A Place I've Never Been," "Arkansas," & "The Page Turner." With Mark Mitchell, he coedited "The Penguin Book of Short Stories" & "The Pages Passed from Hand to Hand" & cowrote "Italian Pleasures." He is recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation & the National Endowment for the Arts. He divides his time between Italy and Florida.

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