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Book Review - The Secret Love Affair Of Two Beautiful Teenagers

by Gert Hekma in Films & Books , 10 november 2006

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

“Wicked Angels” is an astonishing novel - romantic and violent. Beautifully written and very erotic, the book first appeared in 1955 (or was it 1956, like it says in my recent French edition?), when books were still being banned in France, which happened also to this novel by Eric Jourdan, who was just seventeen at the time. It took until 1985 for the book to finally appear uncensored. Jourdan was a brilliant young talent who was not heard of for long after.

Only recently he became literary active again, possibly because his stepfather Julian Green claimed all his attention. Very recently the stepson has published “Le songe d’Alcibiade” (2006) about the most beautiful boy in ancient Greece.

The story of “Wicked Angels” is said to be based on true experiences of the author and takes place during a hot summer in Amboise. The main characters are two cousins of seventeen years old. Their fathers moved in together after the passing away of the mothers, two sisters. The boys fall wildly in love. Gerard and Pierre are both beautiful and they know it too. In the first part of the novel Pierre tells about his love for Gerard, whose beauty confuses both students and teachers and causes him to remain a bit of an outsider.

Both teenagers are intelligent but Gerard finds no pleasure in the slavery of school life. To him college is just a preparation for the discipline of adult life and as a hedonist he’s not looking forward to that. He’d rather devote himself completely to his sweet cousin.

Better to be a slave to lust than a slave to education. The devotion to a joined love life however is not enough. The boys want more, they want to merge together and become one completely. This is what’s told in the very passionate second part, which is attributed to Gerard.

The boys try to hide their love for others because they know that homosexual love, even an adolescent one like theirs, would not be appreciated in France at that time. They exude love however: their looks, their behavior, their kisses and the fact that they’re always together.

Their love could not remain hidden. Their fathers try in vain to keep them separate and jealous boys from the neighborhood try to catch them; also because Gerard, who lusts after blood, has murdered their birds of prey. Their revenge is very cruel.

They torture and rape Gerard, who seems to almost enjoy this. His relationship with Pierre is also violent. The violence seems to give them the feeling of intimacy. The first way they become one is by cutting each other and drinking each other’s blood. Thus they seal their love with an old ritual of blood brotherhood. They take it a lot further, but I’ll leave it to the reader to discover that.

“Wicked Angels” is a magnificent novel, very lyrically and captivatingly written, making even the violence beautiful. It’s part of a long tradition of homosexual cruelty with authors such as Donatien de Sade, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust and Jourdan’s contemporary Jean Genet.

Although the two boys are the center, the story also offers insight in the social context with rejecting fathers, neighbors who hate gays but have sex with a beautiful boy, the impossibility of such a love in France at that time, a provincial town with nothing to offer but passion.

It truly is a mystery why such a jewel has been left collecting dust for such a long time. Unfortunately there are many more homosexual and pederast jewels (as those by another contemporary of Jourdan: François Augiéras) which remain hidden in bookcases - when it comes to publishing it’s time to take a stand.

Eric Jourdan, “Wicked Angels,” Translated by Thomas J.D. Armbrecht. Binghamton NY: Harrington Park Press, 2006, XXVIII + 121 p. Originally published as “Mauvais Anges,” Paris 1955.



In the New Issue of Gay News, 323, July 2018

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