Book review: The New Life is an insight into the loneliness of being gay in Victorian times
Debut novel based on a true story features the struggles of a duo of authors trying to publish a sympathetic book about homosexuality around the time of the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde
Tom Crewe’s debut novel is very loosely based on real events. In the early 1890s, poet John Addington Symonds and physician Havelock Ellis co-wrote a book called Sexual Inversion, the first English medical textbook about homosexuality. The New Life features two authors called Henry Ellis and John Addington who are clearly inspired by their real-life counterparts, although Crewe admits to having “ruthlessly exploited and adapted materials from the past in the service of the story”.