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Thames & Hudson

Taboo – or not taboo? That is the question you soon start asking yourself if you bother with the text of this book and its purported revelations on the subject of ‘male beauty’. It is a stimulating question, but you end up wondering if the publishers, at least, mean you to go to such bother when they’ve hardly gone to any themselves, in the way of editing, to ensure some cogency in their celebrity author’s arguments. There’s little here, in fact, that you could call argument, in the sense of a coherent succession of reasoned propositions: nothing so solid or stable to argue against; nothing so stolid or boring. When not beguiled by the next image of upwardly nubile flesh, sumptuously reproduced from the work of the world’s great visual artists, you’re more at risk of being left stupefied by the next authorial assertion. Oh, yes, it will be provocative, but the provocation often lies in its brazen countering of the assertions that have preceded it. Silly you for craving consistency.

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