The Male Gaze (3 stars)

Joe Treasure

The Male Gaze (Picador)

BLACK COMEDY

At first glance, The Male Gaze is cheerful dick-lit. English bloke, stuck in LA, feeling detached from his wife, meets vivacious American woman for out-of-character adventures. Things soon take a darker turn, as a young girl’s suicide kicks off a series of events which sweep the rather tentative protagonist along. If you can cope with the gloriously ridiculous series of coincidences, and a few garish stereotypes of Hollywood hippies, then Joe Treasure rewards the reader with a fast-paced plot and wry humour.

Some of the characters are delicately observed: the sink or swim attitude of the foreigner abroad is beautifully demonstrated by David and his wife who flounder in this superficial culture while his attempts to cope with the mounting hysteria disrupting his world become more desperate. It’s a promising debut novel, and an entertaining, intelligent read, with just enough wit for you to be a tad frustrated there’s not more.

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