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The New Life

About the Book

The New Life

A brilliant and captivating debut, in the tradition of Alan Hollinghurst and Colm Tóibín, about two marriages, two forbidden love affairs, and the passionate search for social and sexual freedom in late-19th-century London.

In this powerful, visceral novel about love, sex and the struggle for a better world, two men collaborate on a book in defense of homosexuality, then a crime --- risking their old lives in the process.

In the summer of 1894, John Addington and Henry Ellis begin writing a book arguing that what they call “inversion,” or homosexuality, is a natural, harmless variation of human sexuality. Though they have never met, John and Henry both live in London with their wives, Catherine and Edith, and in each marriage there is a third party: John has a lover, a working class man named Frank, and Edith spends almost as much time with her friend, Angelica, as she does with Henry. John and Catherine have three grown daughters and a long, settled marriage, over the course of which Catherine has tried to accept her husband’s sexuality and her own role in life. Henry and Edith’s marriage is intended to be a revolution in itself, an intellectual partnership that dismantles the traditional understanding of what matrimony means.

Shortly before the book is to be published, Oscar Wilde is arrested. John and Henry must decide whether to go on, risking social ostracism and imprisonment, or to give up the project for their own safety and the safety of the people they love. Is this the right moment to advance their cause? Is publishing bravery or foolishness? And what price is too high to pay for a new way of living?

A richly detailed, insightful and dramatic debut novel, THE NEW LIFE is an unforgettable portrait of two men, a city and a generation discovering the nature and limits of personal freedom as the 20th century comes into view.

The New Life
by Tom Crewe

  • Publication Date: January 3, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • ISBN-10: 1668000830
  • ISBN-13: 9781668000830