Despite its title (a dig at the hero’s addiction to Rodgers and Hammerstein) all the action of Kansas in August takes place within a square mile of Shepherd’s Bush Green. However, the ethnic diversity of that area and the sexual versatility of the book’s young protagonists allow the author to introduce us to a surprisingly wide variety of human types and foibles. Mr Gale has a wry wit. I think that he must have been somewhere else when Mr Fowler was trying to frighten us with all those nasty AIDS ads.

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