The Lantern Bearers And Other Essays About Love

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This article is about the book by Ronald Frame. For other books and uses of the term, see The Lantern Bearers.

The Lantern Bearers is the twelfth novel by Scottish author and playwright Ronald Frame. It won the Saltire Book of the Year award in 2000.

Frame’s novel is set in Scotland where Euan Bone, a young composer, lives with his homosexual partner Douglas Maitland. Bone is struggling with a major work based on The Lantern Bearers, an essay by Robert Louis Stevenson. The story is told by a gay 35-year-old Neil Pritchard who, as a pubescent 14-year-old, visited the village where Bone lived. Bone was searching for a boy treble to sing for him and help inspire the composing process and young Neil ends up as his muse, singing for him every afternoon.

The relationship between Bone and the boy develops from a professional one to one of mutual affection. Neil describes his emerging homosexual urges, but there is no suggestion of sexual activity. Maitland becomes more and more upset by Bone’s love for Neil and his behaviour becomes erratic. Neil is then cursorily rejected by Bone when his voice breaks this has a traumatic effect on the boy. Neil cannot understand or accept the rejection and follows Bone around the village. Bone ignores him.

Neil’s obsession leads him to steal the manuscript of the Lantern Bearers and plant it in Maitland’s car (having lovingly copied it) and this spontaneous adolescent action accelerates the breakup the Bone/Maitland partnership. Neil ultimately is driven to invent a rumor of child molestation against Bone. Alerted by Neil's father, the police pursue Bone, who dies in a sting operation.

The adult Neil eventually discovers that Bone had had an earlier relationship with Simon, a boy treble in England, that there was evidence of sexual activity, and that the police were involved.

Neil is commissioned to write a biography of Bone and returns to the Scottish village to unearth the hidden manuscript.

The Lantern Bearers book cover

The Lantern-Bearers and Other Essays3.8 · Rating details ·  20 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) is best known as the author of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Treasure Island, and Kidnapped, but his essays comprise an oft-overlooked trove of gems, intriguing in their content and generous in their scope. This collection of nearly three dozen of Stevenson's best essays the only anthology of its kind spans his brief life aRobert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) is best known as the author of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Treasure Island, and Kidnapped, but his essays comprise an oft-overlooked trove of gems, intriguing in their content and generous in their scope. This collection of nearly three dozen of Stevenson's best essays the only anthology of its kind spans his brief life and includes many of his most celebrated pieces and some others previously unpublished."...more

Paperback, 316 pages

Published August 17th 1999 by Cooper Square Press (first published February 11th 1988)

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