Riptide. Aug. 2013. 248p. ebk. ISBN 9781626490246. $6.99; print ISBN 9781626490253. $16.99; combo $23.98. LGBT ROMANCE
OrangeReviewStarAsh Winters suffers from bipolar disorder. His illness has channeled his life away from being the literary darling of London into a more noirish life as a crime novelist; he rarely leaves home without suffering anxiety attacks. While struggling with his anxiety at a bachelor party for a friend, Ash meets the most ridiculous man he's ever seen, with overly styled hair, orange spray tan, an obsession with fashion, and an exuberant personality. Essex boy Darian Taylor is pursuing a modeling career and enjoys his hookup with Ash until Ash sneaks out in the middle of the night. When the two men meet again at a book autographing event, Ash realizes he hasn't been able to forget his "glitter pirate" and struggles to keep Darian in his life without exposing his illness. But Darian, while not Ash's intellectual equal by his own admission, is years ahead of Ash in understanding himself and demanding respect. Darian is willing to support Ash but not at the cost to his self-respect.
VERDICT Think Savile Row meets Jersey Shore. Hall's debut novel captures the roller-coaster ride of bipolar disorder through Ash, a man not always easy to like but one readers can understand. Writing short, focused paragraphs denoting depression and disinterest and longer, disjointed paragraphs denoting mania and obsession, Hall provides a view of bipolar disorder from the inside. In addition, Darian's character is a joy, with his simple albeit humorously shallow outlook on life. By turns laugh-out-loud funny and tragically sad, Hall's novel draws readers into this wonderful glitter-ball of a world. Highly recommended.
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