Following a neurotic writer and a wealthy aesthete over four bumpy decades, “Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style” is a gay rom-com that tugs at the heart. Well known as a humorist, Paul Rudnick delivers an emotional romance amid the one-liners in his new novel.Credit…Emilio Madrid When you purchase an independently reviewed book through our site, we earn an affiliate commission. FARRELL COVINGTON AND THE LIMITS OF STYLE, by Paul Rudnick Nate Reminger, a New Jersey-born, gay, Jewish and unabashedly horny virgin, shows up at Yale University in 1973 and instantly sets his sights on the one man he'll be gazing at for the next four decades. As a budding writer with a knack for shrewd description, Nate spends the length of Paul Rudnick's life-filled rom-com trying to find ways to describe that man, Farrell Covington: He is a “blinding sun god,” a “blank check,” an “unhinged cipher” and more. In so doing, Nate also reaches for a new way of seeing himself and what he believes to be possible for two men in love. To Nate's surprise, Farrell returns his gaze with an even stronger intensity. It supersedes the look of a crush — it's an appraisal, a reverie. And of the pair, Farrell is the one with an eye for beauty. A devastatingly handsome, unimaginably wealthy aesthete, Farrell considers style his armor — “a form of protest, against gross inhumanity or inclement weather.” As the scion of an ultraconservative family, he is not so much the black sheep as the gilded one. He speaks in a mid-Atlantic accent that sounds “as if a person had been raised by a bottle of good whiskey and a crystal chandelier.” He is, as the kids would later say, everything. He and Nate quickly become everything to each other, and though Farrell has the kind of charmed life that allows him to avoid such inconveniences as Yale's housing rules — he has a townhouse, with an original Hockney and a butler — it will not shield him from bigoted parents hellbent on keeping their son on the straight and narrow. […]
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