Loizou, Poli. “Disbanded Kingdom”, Cloud Lodge, 2018.
Oscar is 22-years-old and just cannot get it together. He spends his days wandering around central London in the hope of finding love, at best and distraction as a substitute. Even though he is gay, he feels disconnected from the gay scene because of his naiveté and his feelings of not belonging anywhere. His life should not be so bad as he lives with his foster mother, the novelist Charlotte Fontaine, in Kensington, an upscale neighborhood. Then suddenly, everything changes when Oscar meets Tim, Charlotte’s thirty-something literary agent. He is immediately smitten and totally infatuated. Oscar needs to struggle to understand Tim’s politics and his rejection of religion yet his developing friendship with Tim brings about a tremendous change him and his eyes and his mind are opened to his desire to in the young man, making him want to understand the world and where he fits in it. I must say that I was reminded of the reaction of young gay boys in rural America who see an urban gay scene for the first time and realize that there are many who are happy with who they are and live free lifestyles.
Before you begin reading make sure that you allow yourself plenty of time because once you begin, you will not want to stop. The story and the writing style pull you in right away and do not let go even after you close the covers. I sometimes feel that Oscar is sitting on my shoulder taking in how I live. There were so many times as I read that I wanted to reach out to him but then I realized that he was only a character in a novel (but, indeed, there are many like him out there). While this is also a social commentary about English gay youth. In effect, Oscar is privileged but cannot seem to find his way— we have all been there. Likewise, like Oscar, we have all experienced unrequited romantic feelings.
Oscar narrates the story and so we see things the way that he does and we feel his depression. It is difficult not to take on he feels and I found myself rooting for him. Even with all the benefits (financial and otherwise), he needs to find a better place.
There are times when it seems that all he cares about is sex but I believe he uses that as a defensive mechanism so that he does not have to deal with his world as it is. Thinking about sex is a way to escape. I hope that this is not the end of Oscar and that we will learn more about him in a sequel. On the other hand, there may not be a sequel and we have to finish Oscar’s story by how we see what is best for him.