What's Remembered

by Arthur Motyer
ISBN: 1896951686

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A Review of: What's Remembered
by W. P. Kinsella

What's Remembered is graced with a beautiful cover designed by Tannis Goddard. More a fictional memoir than a novel, the story opens with two gay men meeting at a gallery opening and gong out for a late supper. The older man tells the younger his life story, his childhood in a repressed home with a silent, brooding clergyman father, his falling in love with a man who does not return his affection while at Oxford. Peter, probably no pun intended, teaches at a second-rate Canadian university where he is seduced by a student and they have a wild, necessarily secret affair, until the student, Martin, graduates and goes off to conquer the world. This affair takes place before the Canadian Government decided it had no place in the bedrooms of the nation. But even after homosexuality is no longer a crime, the characters for the most part live loveless, promiscuous lives filled with guilt. Martin ends up in England where he begins living with very wealthy man. Peter travels from Canada to England to visit Martin many times over the years, and it in these visits that the novel bogs down in the middle pages. Martin and his friends, although they have everything money can buy, do not lead happy lives. They drink excessively and attend legions of boring parties. There are academic overtones as the story of the poet Shelly, when a student at Oxford, grabbing a baby from its mother's arms and demanding that the child, too young to speak, tell everything he could remember of the life of the soul, is returned to often, but just what this has to do with the characters in the novel is never very clear. Martin eventually drinks himself to death and Peter returns to Canada where he reveals a heartbreaking teenage experience to his prospective lover. There is hope that a real relationship will develop, in the era just before the AIDS epidemic. The writing is elegant and Peter is a sympathetic character.

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