Geez, this book couldn't get any more gay could it? I mean just the imagery alone forces me to consider it in a homosexuality slant. We get so many phallic symbols. The knife, the boat, the opium. We get so many power trips too. The Captain, The Sailor, The cop. Through out this entire reading we are inundated with images that deal with dominate and submissive men and who put them on edge and who shames who. And that doesn't even count the pages dedicated to the description of COCK!
"He was free to leave his body, that audacious scaffolding for his balls. Their weight and beauty he knew" (P. 59) He we are getting literal description of someone's testicles in a fashion that is meant to turn them into a metaphor, and a naughty one at that. It makes me blush it does, and I can not lie. "WIth a light and calm touch he liberated his prick from hsi underpants and helf it for a moment, heavy and extended in his hand... ... resting his hand on his prick." (p73) I am disappointed on some level that I Am confined to only talking about the first 78 pages, and that leaves me unable to discuss the more erotic elements of this piece. But oh well, I will make due with this quote that gives us a rather vivid image of his cock and him man handling it. Very homo erotic imagery it would seem, and imagery of power as well. It goes to show that homosexuals view the cock as a symbol of power.
"He pushed in further, very carefully, the better to savor his pleasure and his strength" (P. 74) Here we get a clear notion that being on top and penetrating a bottom is a position of pleasure and of power. It gives the top control it seems, but for the bottom it seems to give a sense of shame. "At the first thrust, so strong it almost killed him, Querelle whimpered quietly, then more loudly, until he was moaning without restraint or shame" (P. 75) So we have this powerful character that murders, and when he murders he feels this sense of shame, he puts himself through trial in his mind. This act, as he mentions is his final judgement, a means of atoning. Isn't it odd that he needs to have sex to free himself from shame and restraint and to set him free from guilt as well. Odd, that is.
I get the feeling that the Lieutenant is kind of a dandy in this book. We get the notion that he has a rather romantic obsession with Querelle and writes about it in his journal. Through out his journal he is writing a literary sketch of Querelle, as it to draw a picture of someone he doesn't know, someone he can't know due to his situation. Even once he mentions how he envies the admiral who has a 20 year old marine following him around as a body guard. I don't remember the page exactly, but I remember that the lieutenant was mildly aroused at the notion of having such a strapping young around who would willingly go down on knees for you and perform fellatio. This man, while very prim and proper, seems to be very horny and repressed.
If one considers it carefully we are getting the sense that every character in this book is gay. I mean call me silly, but The Cop has Dede, The Hotel Keeper has Querelle, Gib and Theo are together, but Gib also loves someone else because he felt like he was bought off by Theo. Gasp, drama. We have the lieutenant who is obsessed with Querelle, and Querelle seems to know this is and is amused by this on some level. He remembers leaving his hankerchief in the lieutenants office and it disappeared. If he has searched further he would have found it encrusted with other bodily fluids. But thankfully the Lieutenant is a good man! He gave Querelle one of his monogrammed one. Nice!
Overall I find this book to be a great read, if overtly homo erotic. Definetely much more open and in the clear about this rather than having it as a subtle under tone as we are use to. It makes me wonder what the novels to come will be like, and if it gets even raunchier than that. I guess time will tell, but until then, I Shall return to my strapping seamen and sailors, pimps and cops who all love cock!