Friday, May 9, 2014

"The Heart in Exile" by Rodney Garland

I happened upon this book while I was looking up the definition of “occult” in the Oxford English Dictionary Online. There was this quotation supporting the definition — “Not disclosed or divulged, secret, kept secret, communicated only to the initiated”:

A. Tomlinson et al. Consumption, Identity & Style (1991) (BNC) 153 Although in the typically occult language of the time, Garland's prescient account [in his notorious homosexual novel of 1953 The Heart in Exile] catches society at a crossroads.”

Occult, prescient, notorious, homosexual – this book seemed to have it all. I felt compelled to learn more about it. The disturbingly frank London homosexuality cover art hooked me.

There is not much information available about the author. I learned that Rodney Garland was a pseudonym used by Adam de Hegedus (1906 – 1958). He was born in Budapest and studied for a career in the Hungarian diplomatic service, but he moved to England during the 1930’s to become a writer. His published works include the following:
  • The Heart In Exile
  • World Without Dreams
  • The Troubled Midnight
  • Sorcerer’s Broth
  • Hell And High Water
I came across two published reviews of The Heart In Exile. In the New York Times, October 31, 1954, there is a review with that has following abstract:

THIS is a strange novel, perhaps because it is about strange people, in that they differ from the rest of us who call ourselves normal. And yet (as the reader will quickly learn from this sensitive and deeply perceptive story of the homosexual and his underworld) the "queer" make up a substantial segment of the population, a million males in England, at least two million in the United States.

In Time, September 20, 1954, the following tidbit was available:

…an English novel about homosexuality. Its psychiatrist-author has adopted a pseudonym to write about a psychiatrist and his life around the London "underground," where homosexuals lead their furtive existence. The book is a sociological blueprint in the fictional form of a suspense thriller. The psychiatrist tries to find out why a personable young solicitor committed suicide on the eve of his marriage. The quest leads deep into the English underground, which ranges from the cockney East End to the elegant West End and...

I bought the Amazon Kindle edition for only ninety-nine cents. That is a fraction of the cost of buying online access to read the book reviews noted above.

The sensitive and deeply perceptive homosexual underworld cover art for the U.S. edition is not as alluring as the British cover.

1 comment:

James D Jenkins said...

We (Valancourt Books) have actually just republished this novel as part of our series of neglected gay fiction of the 1940s-1970s. If you have a minute, you might check out our website; perhaps there'd be something there you'd find interesting.