The Irritatingly Erotic Adventures of Charles McBride
Nostalgic enough to be excited by a picturesque old town in Italy that he had frequented in his youth, the now ‘old fifty’-year-old Charles accidentally stumbles upon a new version of himself in Alan Williams’ recently published novella, The Irritatingly Erotic Adventures of Charles McBride. A version which finds him taking extraordinary risks to his reputation as a Brit and thoroughly enjoying himself while doing so.
Recently divorced (thank god), Charles is now overall a richer, possibly fatter – and certainly happier – man. His journey back to this childhood holiday destination promises to be a relaxing few days for him to clear his mind, while enjoying his favourite food and drinks, sitting in his favourite bars and restaurants and indulging in visiting his favourite haunts, without that stupid bitch around to burden him in the way she had for the past two decades.
With nothing and nobody around to weigh him down (apart from the few extra pounds around his waist) what could possibly go wrong?
In Italian culture, when a sacred wolf is injured, it is considered a crime to kill the creature despite its suffering. Could an injured wolf and an annoying, chatty youth on a train be exactly the catalysts that Charles needs in order to get himself together? Or are all the girls staring at him because he’s just lookin’ good after his recent separation?
Although Charles’s Irritatingly Erotic Adventures are not quite as erotic as the title might suggest – save for some awkwardly intimate moments in an elevator and a nightclub – it is a great and entertaining read. Our hero’s character is relatable and charmingly clueless; he deals with a farcical situation in a ridiculous way, but bizarrely, it seems to work for him.
Alan Williams’ writing introduces characters seamlessly and keeps it fresh; I found the plot in turn hilarious and terrifically exciting: particularly when Charles finds himself further and further removed from his comfort zone. The gradual revelation of Charles’s background kept me wanting to know more about his previous marriage. As my sympathies ricochetted between him, his ex-wife and his friends, then back to him again, the story remained pacy and dramatic.
The Irritatingly Erotic Adventures of Charles McBride, Alan Williams, 55pp,
Kindle edition only, £2.97, https://goo.gl/gBKvnr