The Vicious Age
Sexuality, Transgression & Redemption
John Roman Baker’s new novel explores life, age and risk in Amsterdam.
Age remains a taboo subject in gay male culture. Youth and idealised images of beauty rule supreme in gay media while, in defiance of reality, the experiences of older gay men are side-lined and largely ignored. Now however, a new novel The Vicious Age dares to explore this paradox. The book’s author, John Roman Baker, whose work, whether in the theatre or in print, has never followed the gay mainstream, casts a perceptive, at times brutal, light on this contradiction.
In the alien environment of a foreign city, Amsterdam, Tim is adrift to the point of giving up. The city, which in recent years has adopted an obsessive path of rebuilding and renewal, presents a stark contrast to Tim’s own physical and mental stagnation and deterioration.
In the midst of his despair, Tim finds himself pursued by two very different men. Both come from the criminal and hard-edged margins of Amsterdam that he has for so many years frequented. Radek is Polish, 19 years old, selling his innocence but holding out for love. Klaus is a German who sells death to those willing to pay for it.
Can either of these men have anything genuine to offer Tim? Drugs and an ever-deepening cycle of sexual dependency provide him with temporary relief, but as his encounters leave him increasingly exposed to danger and violence, he knows he must break free and face the future without illusions, possibly but not necessarily alone.
About the Author
John Roman Baker is a British poet, playwright and novelist who has lived and worked mainly in Brighton, Paris and Amsterdam. His work is characterized by transgressive themes presented from a homosexual point of view. In 1975, his first play ‘Limitations’ launched Gay Sweatshop theatre company. Later, in response to Section 28 and the AIDS crisis, Roman Baker founded his own theatre company ‘Aids Positive Underground’ and in 1990 won the award for best theatre at the Brighton Festival for his play ‘The Ice Pick’. He continued working as a dramatist after moving to Amsterdam in 1997, but has recently returned to writing poetry and novels, four of which have now been published by gay publisher Wilkinson House.
The Vicious Age
by John Roman Baker
UK £11.99 (paperback) £4.99 (ebook)
US $13.99 (paperback) $5.99 (ebook)
Or order direct from Wilkinson House