Sexual memoirs

Gay and abandoned: A Previous Life, by Edmund White, reviewed

Edmund White’s new novel opens, somewhat improbably, in 2050. This imagined future, however, springs few surprises on the reader and is in fact almost identical to the present. Indeed, the leap forward in time is merely a narrative device, allowing a 70-year-old Sicilian aristocrat to reminisce about his affair 30 years earlier with the elderly Edmund White, now long dead and more or less forgotten as a writer. Ruggero Castelnuovo has subsequently married a much younger American woman, Constance. The couple have made a pact never to talk about their past lives, but they now decide to write their private ‘confessions’, and much of the book is taken up with