Read Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall by Neil Bartlett Online


A deeply romantic evocation of gay life, this stunning first novel by celebrated British gay writer Neil Bartlett gives a tender, erotic, brutally explicit portrayal of love between men. In a dark corner of the best bar in the city, two lovers fall into each other's arms. The bar has been called many names, but it is now known simply as The Bar. Its proprietor is the agingA deeply romantic evocation of gay life, this stunning first novel by celebrated British gay writer Neil Bartlett gives a tender, erotic, brutally explicit portrayal of love between men. In a dark corner of the best bar in the city, two lovers fall into each other's arms. The bar has been called many names, but it is now known simply as The Bar. Its proprietor is the aging, still glamourous Madame. Its clientele is gay. The two who fall in love are Boy, a beautiful nineteen-year-old, and the handsome, forty-something "Older Man" referred to as "O" by the regulars of The Bar. This is the story of Boy's and O's courtship and marriage, of Madame's role in the affair, and of the man called "Father," who threatens to come between them. Searingly honest in its deception of gay culture and ritual, this gripping novel is at once a moving celebratiion of love and a stark picture of life for gay men today....

Title : Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781852422059
Format Type : Other Book
Number of Pages : 313 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall Reviews

  • mark monday
    2019-01-24 15:07

    this often fearfully stark novel seeks to boil down the clichés and stand-bys of queer fiction into a mini-universe composed solely of archetypes and living metaphors. the problem with this is obvious: a cliché is a cliché is a cliché. nonetheless, the writing is strong and the late entrance of the oddly dithering, disturbingly ambiguous, potentially catalytic character "Father" manages to force genuine, human emotion into what at times appears to be something of a gay-brecht-for-beginners. overall, more intriguing to contemplate than to actually experience.

  • Ethan
    2019-01-21 16:58

    The first time I read this book in college I couldn't get into it, but I loved it the second time around. I think what threw me the first time was the intensity and even violence in O and Boy's relationship, which I think shocked me back in college and soured me on the book. But on a second read I feel like I understand what Neil Bartlett was going for, and his portrayal of the relationship between the two characters feels very full, rich and powerful. Bartlett does a great job of making the world of the book--the bar, the apartment, the city-- feel vibrant and alive. The characters, the dishy narrator, the book's sense of mission, and the occasional elements of magical realism all drew me in and made me fall in love with the book.

  • John Wiltshire
    2019-01-31 17:07

    I'm thinking of petitioning Goodread to bring in a 0-star category.If they do, I'd downgrade this one. I read this many years ago but it sticks in my mind as one of the worst books I've ever read.Boring doesn't even describe this horrible mess.I think it's symptomatic of "gay" related books and movies. I recently went through a list on IMDb of "best" gay movies and got hold of them. Dear God. Why should gay writing and gay film making not be held to account the same as any mainstream entertainment? Seriously, watching them was about as pleasant as dragging my fingernail down a blackboard whilst being anally probed by Anjem Choudrey. Bone-wearyingly long establishing shots of some nameless, badly-shaved guy walking somewhere or other. Dialogue that makes you want to invent a virus that prevents the human race speaking--ever. Ahhh. And then there are books like this. And people defend it saying it's a product of its times and can't be judged against modern gay novels. Really? That's like saying Wilkie Collins The Woman in White (brilliant thriller) can't be judged against Harry Quebert (my hand still shakes from repressed fury at wasting money on that total pile of garbage). I wonder if it could be a defence in a court if found downloading books illegally to say the crime would be actually having to pay for them? If that defence ever gets accepted, this book would qualify.

  • Adam Dunn
    2019-02-14 10:53

    I am very glad I read Bartlett's Skin Lane first.That book is one of my favourites. Unfortunately it led me then to this one.This book seemed to have everything going for it, nameless characters, as in Skin Lane, referred to here as O and Boy. Bartlett's poetic writing style is as always on display. A plot that sounds interesting.What you find as you get in to the book is that the plot described on the back cover is the entire plot. Two men meet and fall in love at a local pub. Nothing else much really happens.Bartlett's flowing narrative is on overdrive. It seems in this, his first book, he hadn't yet learned how to reign it in, and there are many times when it just becomes a rambling incoherent mess. These numerous jaunts take away from the already thin plot to the point that several times I found myself falling asleep trying to read the book.I like the author's strong pro-gay tone, being openly gay and direct about it is never an issue. I totally agree though with another reviewer who said that this book is better to contemplate than to actually read.

  • Tom
    2019-02-19 17:46

    I found it a struggle to finish this book, although the plot did gain interest in the final 50 pages or so. It's an improbable tale of mutual sexual obsession between an older man, identified only as O and a youth of about 20, identified only as Boy. Most of the action takes place in and around a London gay bar, and the tale is narrated by another regular bar patron, who remains anonymous. We learn nothing about the narrator, or his own feelings, but can surmise from his tone that he is an older, gossipy queen living vicariously through the Boy-O affair. A vague hint of danger runs through the novel as the narrator mentions every chapter or two that another gay-bashing has occurred in the bar's vicinity. The bar is portrayed as its own, highly insulated subculture, where customers more or less worship Madame, the old drag queen who runs the business and nightly performs her signature tune, "All of me, why not take all of me?"The book may have some value for evoking the atmosphere of closeted gay bars in the pre-AIDS decades. But by the end of the novel, I was thinking of another old standard, that of Peggy Lee: "Is that all there is?"

  • Peter Leeson
    2019-02-06 14:56

    Brilliant book. No spoilers if I say that largely nothing happens, you don't even get to know the names of the main characters and you know nothing of the narrator. The atmosphere, the story, the writing, all is beautiful and gripping! I have never read anything like it and strongly recommend it.

  • Jesse Bescoby
    2019-02-08 18:48

    A wonderful book exploring gay life and the then-imagined future of same-sex marriage. Full of larger than life and fully formed characters and a wonderful sense of community.

  • Simon
    2019-02-19 19:09


  • Daren Kearl
    2019-01-27 11:57

    Gave up after 120 pages as it really wasn't going anywhere but wallowing in a couples happiness - and who wants to read about that, whatever the gender..

  • Alexis Muirhead
    2019-01-31 10:51

    Scholar, playwright and HIV/AIDs activist Bartlett shoots for universal truths of "other"ed experience in this, his most famous novel. Ready to Catch Him is written in a lyrical, almost dreamlike style that trades heavily in symbolism and historical allusion to create its setting and characters. Boy arrives in an unnamed metropolis from Anytown, Anywhere and immediately finds a community of men who share his desire for love, sex and connection. These men congregate in The Bar - the place has a name, but the name changes so constantly none of the regulars bother to remember what it's called. The Bar is run by the tragic and mysterious Mother, who serves as a community leader, advisor and confidant for all the men who spend their lives in the safe space she's created for them. Boy falls in love with O (another older, more experienced man) and their relationship comes to symbolize the fate of everyone in this novel, which stands firmly outside of time and space. The AIDs crisis from the early 1980s is evoked but not mentioned by name, and the importance of queer space and queer community is foregrounded. Despite their status as symbols rather than fully-realized characters, the romance between Boy and O manages to be surprisingly compelling, and Bartlett's unusual narrative structure and lush, dense prose made this novel extremely memorable. I haven't read anything quite like it before; I think you could probably draw comparisons to Virginia Wolf's Orlando (universality of human experience, exploration of gender and sexuality through historical transcendence) but it's quite unlike anything I've encountered.

  • Matthew
    2019-02-15 18:07

    This book gives a stunning representation of gay life in 1980s Britain. Bartlett's writing pulls you into the love affair between a 19-year-old boy and an older, very experienced man. Their evolving relationship is witnessed and celebrated by other men at the clandestine "Bar," whose head is a woman known as "mother." Bartlett gives a deep, romantic, realistic view of homosexual love, and wisely incorporates bits of reality to shatter any preconceived notion of perfection as he describes attacks against gay men that occurred during that time. And with a mysterious correspondent who calls himself "father," "Older" and "Boy"'s relationship is tested at its climax as much is revealed about the life of the mysterious young man. Beautifully written with chilling eroticism, passion, and violence, "Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall" is highly recommended to any reader.

  • Jane
    2019-01-30 13:56

    The older/younger gay relationship is illustrated as two gays meet in a bar somewhere in Britain. 'O'being the older and boy, the younger. A tender and beautiful relationship evolves and most of it takes place in this neighbourhood bar where the the matron is called Mom. There are stage performances if you wish.An underlying sub-plot is the murdering of gay men.This is a tender, poignant story of two people who cannot believe that they have found each other and in a final scene they want to express their own love for each other on stage.Surprising ending. Great reading.

  • Nikkie (leestweeps)
    2019-01-22 10:49

    reminded me of Angels in America and the books by Jonas Gardell, although I should say I liked the other books more. This book shows a more positive side and the ending is happy. it can be called a celebration of homosexual took me a while to finish the book. The middle part wasn't that interesting and dragged on and on.

  • Hayden Chance
    2019-02-06 13:00

    I read this book when it first came out. At the time there was really nothing like it in print. It was one of the books that really made me want to be a writer, and yet, I really wouldn't like it now. It's got three stars for what he did when he did it. But, now, I think gay readers need different examples of what love is. This model is outdated and doesn't do us much good anymore.

  • Zen Cho
    2019-01-21 18:48

    Liked this. Was impressed by combination of poetry and fact that it was written like a guy telling a story in a bar; found everything very -- yes, immediate. Also approved of Londonness. Thought the strongest part was where the Boy brought his Father home and how they dealt with that.

  • Adam
    2019-02-21 17:56

    good story, psychological thriller after Boy meets his counterpart and the other major character, simply named "O", but couldn't quite get into it completely for some reasonwill probably be something I will want to read again later

  • Michael Alenyikov
    2019-01-27 12:57

    Brilliant, sui generis. The names of the characters made me cringe for the first few pages so was unprepared for it's powerful, elliptical, beautifully written journey through gay history via one bar and two men.

  • Lewis Smith
    2019-02-04 16:10

    stopped reading; not resonating

  • Robert Mooney
    2019-02-20 19:02

    There were times I wanted to throw this book against the wall. You will probably hate it. I finished it because I fell in love with the main characters, Boy and O, and I didn't want to let them go.

  • Daniel
    2019-01-31 15:06

    This is the story of two men who meet, fall, in love and get married. It is from a British author. The language and imagery is beautiful. Highly recommended.