Just read a great new novel, History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason. I highly recommend it. Mason hit the literary scene with the Drowning People which I have not read, but it got a ton of attention because he was a student at Oxford when he was published as a first-time author.
in Amsterdam and Cape Town at the turn of the century. The main character, Piet Barol, is a dark haired hedonist with physical characteristics similar to the author. Handsome, cultured, opportunistic, bright, mischievous - entirely likeable even when he is being a complete idiot.
Mason does an incredible job of making love, sex, romance, seduction both hot and humorous as his characters either indulge in all of these or repress them. But he never judges his characters -- he let's their adventures and misdeeds unfold with beautifully constructed prose.
His characters share an intimacy with the reader as if he wrote the book just for them. As if the reader