That rare book that has something interesting and provocative to say about both desire and culture. It is personally frank and politically sophisticated. And in these days of moralism on the right and political correctness on the left, it suggests that in our bumbling pursuit of the obscure object of desire, we may be a lot more innocent than we think.
A graceful narrative….entwined with an alluring roué’s decadence (think of Henry Miller scribbling in Paris or Joe Orton’s diary entries from Morocco) and stimulating traveller’s inquisitiveness (in the manner of Pico Iyer, George Orwell and Edmund White).
Fascinating…documented in telling detail rather like an Isherwood memoir or a Bel Ami porn video, and not without a generous amount of satiric humour… Sections of this book read like an exotic travelogue, and there is ample evidence of Gawthrop’s literary sophistication….an interesting and useful articulation of the manners and contradictions of his desires and of Otherness.
—Globe and Mail
It’s an engaging tale, and where Gawthrop really succeeds is in his abilities as a storyteller. Wherever he takes the reader, be it his six-month stay in an overcast London or recounting the soupy heat as he sits at the rooftop bar of a sauna overlooking night-time Bangkok, he always paints a vivid picture.
—The Nation (Bangkok)
Move over Bridget Jones. This autobiography explores the life of a self-declared rice queen—a gay man who loves Asian men. If this were turned into a movie starring Colin Firth, it might permanently break him out of his rut of onscreen impotent simmering at teenage girls. Oh, dreams.
(A) sensitive, troubling and sometimes uncomfortably sexy memoir….Gawthrop provides fascinating challenges to the tyranny of political correctness while struggling with the dangerously consuming nature of his own desires.
An important addition to the gay canon of literature… Gawthrop does a fine job in detailing the narrator’s sexual odyssey without overly exoticizing it.
An intriguing variation on the classic coming out narrative, one that attempts to depict not only the emergence of a queer identity, but of a form of queer sexuality that is tangled up with issues or racial and cultural identity as well.
—Bay Area Reporter
Vivid and at times jarring, The Rice Queen Diaries, is an eye-opening and challenging read for anyone willing to step into its sticky, bittersweet realm.
This is no PC guilt fest. Gawthrop … nicely reveals the complexity of human desire, and there’s some great Southeast Asian scenery along the way.
Gawthrop, like Yukio Mishima, is adept at invoking virile beauty.
—Gay & Lesbian Review
‘Rice queens’ is not yet an authorized [library] subject heading, but it may soon be on the way with this worthy literary warrant.
—American Library Association GLBTRT Newsletter
Well-written and thoughtful, Gawthrop’s work is bound to engage readers.
—Canadian Book Review Annual
An exceptional read.
—The Edge (Boston)
This insightful memoir….covers a lot of sexual, emotional and cultural ground—and growth …Intelligently and bravely self-reflective….the book comes into its strength when Gawthrop addresses disparate cultures of desire.
—Seattle Gay Times