Arthur And Teddy Are Coming Out – Ryan Love (HQ 2023)

This is a debut novel I’d highlighted at the start of the year in my “Looking Forward” post.  I was admittedly nervous as it is being promoted as “the feel-good novel of the year”, this means for me it could go either way with too high expectations leaving me disappointed.  I do think this description is just about appropriate and the author demonstrates good skills at keeping readers entertained with his first publication.

At the age of 79 Arthur has decided to come out to his family, wanting to live the time he has left as a gay man.  At the same time his 21 year old grandson Teddy is contemplating doing the same thing.  The strongest aspect throughout is this intergenerational bond, the obstacles posed by their new situation and their coming to terms with themselves and one another provide the best moments in the novel.  The woman between them, Arthur’s daughter and Teddy’s mother creates a significant number of these obstacles.  Her reaction to her father’s revelation pushes her son back into the closet.

In reality, nobody here has it that difficult, considering.  The London suburbs where Arthur lives seems surprisingly antiquated in its views and Teddy already has his life mapped out if only he will follow the plan set by his celebrated journalist mother.  In alternating narratives focusing on Arthur and Teddy we seem them coming to terms  with aspects of their lives and the focus is very much on what they expect to get out of things.  Arthur, although much older, seems the most optimistic.

The emphasis is on feel-good yet I felt it lacked slightly the laugh-out-loud set pieces which would really make it memorable and I would have liked a greater share of the limelight given to Arthur’s wife of many years, Madeleine. I know that this is not her story but I felt she needed a little rounding out as a character as she gave her husband a very easy ride.  She had had decades to come to terms with things but I felt even a scene depicting a conversation between her and Teddy’s mother where their responses were explored openly would have benefited both characters.

When a new character who has accepted his sexuality is introduced, the octogenarian Oscar, I had high hopes for some more riotous moments but he also felt ultimately under-developed which is a shame.

I did really like the tensions of potential office romance and the adage of “you’re never too old” which runs through Arthur’s story but is definitely the strength of the bond between Arthur and Teddy which will have readers praising this.  The title advertises the book well- you certainly know what you will be getting as a reader and if you are not prepared to be drawn into these characters’ worlds you are unlikely to have chosen to read it in the first place.  A good debut.

Arthur and Teddy Are Coming Out is published in the UK by HQ on 13th April 2023.  Many thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the advance review copy. 

One thought on “Arthur And Teddy Are Coming Out – Ryan Love (HQ 2023)


    Anybody who touches on this issue SHLD BE CALLED thanks for your honesty.N umber of times I fancied a guy after Ian passed on WERE gays.If i had an inclination,it wld spare me an embarrassment.If they were upfront HONEST as they were NOT, I would NEVERF APPROACHED THEM. They were 3, and NOT UPFRONT HONEST. only my amorous attempts, Iwld NOT TOUCH THEM WITH A BARGE POLE,knowing the truth..It is VERY brave at any age, but confusing …….public. Are you or are you NOT. BE BRAVE AND HONEST.not many are.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s