First, I’m very happy that Paul chose this book to start us off. If it’s correct that reading is a form of escapism, it is also right to say that reading allows us to step into the shoes of others and see life from new perspectives. And getting a glimpse of the world through the eyes of an embalmer is not one I’d previously imagined. This, then, is an element of the book that I would like to canvas opinion on. (For me, it was certainly eye-opening.)
As for what Paul has written above, I must say I heartily agree with his comment about young William’s ‘self-awareness’. I would go as far to say that the author is projecting her (and society’s) own, presentist preoccupations back onto a group of very young characters who are very unlikely to have had anything like such deep thoughts on particularly weighty issues like homosexuality. Indeed, the level of the boys’ comprehension in a number of situations seems unrealistic to me. Or maybe its just a (very telling) reflection on my own immaturity when I was a adolescent?
I have more to say, but will wait to see what others think before writing again.