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The Road to London Paperback – November 18, 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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The Underground Railroad
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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

SYNOPSIS
When time and place play tricks with your birth, what can you do apart from creating your own imaginary world, then run away from your own creation, to a new life?
A boy is born, some time in the recent past, in Milan, Italy, yet backwards when concerned with 'different' sexualities, and Fate wants this boy not only to be of an intellectually and socially dominant nature, but of a sexually and emotionally gay and submissive disposition.
Unable to explain himself to himself, unable to relate to the world, this soul creates his own world, through dreams, drugs, alcohol and lies, while from a distant place, a club in London, and maybe from his future, if he ever learns to fly, letters to his beloved My Dear look back at his life in Italy with parallels in a romance yet to be.
He tries to be 'normal' and have relationships with girls, he tries to be honest, and open himself up to his love and friend, but life has decided only pain, rejection and suffering should come of it, for the time being at least.
But little glimpses into another, maybe possible life, sparkle here and there through his life, his dreams and into his heart....
REVIEWS
'...a brilliant short novel.' - San Francisco Book Review
'...an impressive work of art.' -Lit Art Magazine
'It definitely elevates the genre to a new level' - Markus Indie Book Reviews
'...something very special'; '...the poetic and color-fueled imagery in the style of writing that holds The Road To London above anything else that I have read this year'; 'The Road To London is a novel that truly should be read by as many people as possible - Bulla has through vibrant and poetic use of language created a modern day classic!' - Paul Martin, SPS
'The writing style is almost impossible to describe, as I do not think anything like has ever been written. Apart from the seamless mixing of different narratives already described, the novel uses poetry and music quite frequently, especially when the situation becomes emotional, important and tense...This novel has been an eye-opener for me: it looks at the world from a perspective that I had never considered, just in between the conscious and the subconscious, between the individual and the universal.'- The Book Review Circle
'Exceptionally innovative and creative, The Road to London is a daring novel, a book unlike any other before. It did not come to me as a surprise to read critics asking for it to be entered for the Man Booker Prize: we finally have a gay novel to represent us in the firmament of great literature: The Road to London.' - The Gay UK Magazine
'Yes, beautiful is the first word that comes to mind when reading The Road to London: impressively so, originally so and idiosyncratically so... all the qualities of a classic.' -Gay-Literature.com
'This novel is gay like the Bible is for Jews.' '...it simply cannot be forgotten.'  - Roger Hardy's Literary Blog
FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR ON THE AUTHORS' SHOW
'...most readers of The Road to London had never picked up a gay or LGBT-themed book before.' 
This is not a gay novel, but a novel with a gay protagonist...
From the Back Cover
A light... 
A birth... 
A journey... 
An escape--not just from the whispering noise of expectations but from the growing awareness of a different life, a different path, a different quest. 
The greatest love letters are written in prose but bring forth the poet's heart, awakening in the receiver an equal passion--or so the writer hopes. 
This love letter tells the story of how I reach London, how I reach you, My Dear, how I come to love so deeply, so truly and completely. 
The journey was not easy, beloved. I faced many ugly trials on this narrow path--but also tests that were... Fun, naughty, spicy and the stuff of memories which will make me smile into my old age, whether you are with me or not. 
I have no regrets, My Dear, except one... Just one... 
It took me too long to find you...
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Netherworld Books (November 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909224898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909224896
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,322,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ade Bulla’s novella is a tale of his journey to become the person he didn’t want to be and to be happy about it. At times a colloquial narrative and, at others, heroically poetic, it is a tale of a soul adrift on a sea of adolescent uncertainty, honest, quirky but accessible. The swings in style are marked by the same structure in each chapter but they are a bit like Picasso or Stravinsky – you’re constantly taken by surprise and find yourself enjoying the ride. The descriptive writing and dreamlike sequences are beautiful and his metaphors are original, unusual and so effective that you go back to absorb them again.

The stepping-stone motif of the ocean is used movingly and with great effect. I have never read better writing about sex which, when dealing with romance and love, is touching and heart-felt without the need to be prurient or explicit; when dealing with casual sex, the writing is direct, soulless and to the point. Very effective.

His own ending (you are invited to consider your own) is truly poignant and beautiful. Ade Bulla is a poet.
Highly recommended.
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At what point does magical realism become incantatory lyricism? Quite an experience: this poetic novella, an ode to personal evolution, haunted by both desperate yearning and an awareness of loss.

Ode? Aria. It’s the self-filleting (as opposed to self-fellating) agony of a romantic (in the best sense), poignant and delirious, elegiac and priapic in about equal measure, one moment a love letter, the next a suicide note.

Devastating. Lightning strikes can be so illuminating. The boy’s life flashes with hallucinogenic intensity, and the journey becomes about the (slightly) mad and intoxicated/intoxicating gush of language. This is a profoundly original work, though of course other voices echo, notably Genet and Miller (Henry, not Arthur) and Salinger, improbably harmonized, lightly flowing one moment, dark and sad the next. Quite an experience.
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Adriano Bulla defines himself 'a servant of Calliope': he does not choose when to write; poems and prose come to him unexpectedly, with a force he cannot resist. Born in Italy, he now lives in London, his adoptive city. He has always refused to stick to genres and formats, experimenting with new voices and new forms of expression. This reader's introduction to his art was his collection of poems - QUEER POEMS - and to find a writer who is as successful with the novel format as with poetry is rare. But Adriano accomplishes this in this luminously beautiful book - THE ROAD TO LONDON.

For the purpose of introduction the author offers the synopsis/concept: ` When time and place play tricks with your birth, what can you do apart from creating your own imaginary world, then run away from your own creation, to a new life? A boy is born, some time in the recent past, in Milan, Italy, yet backwards when concerned with 'different' sexualities, and Fate wants this boy not only to be of an intellectually and socially dominant nature, but of a sexually and emotionally gay and submissive disposition. Unable to explain himself to himself, unable to relate to the world, this soul creates his own world, through dreams, drugs, alcohol and lies, while from a distant place, a club in London, and maybe from his future, if he ever learns to fly, letters to his beloved My Dear look back at his life in Italy with parallels in a romance yet to be. He tries to be 'normal' and have relationships with girls, he tries to be honest, and open himself up to his love and friend, but life has decided only pain, rejection and suffering should come of it, for the time being at least. But little glimpses into another, maybe possible life, sparkle here and there through his life, his dreams and into his heart....
Read more ›
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When I was a teenager my friends and I would sneak off to a private place at the lake, where we'd recline on busted old truck seats around a fire and drink cheap booze while telling rich lies. "The Road To London" takes me back to those days in a way. It's a reflective tale, delivered as if told by a friend while passing a bottle back and forth. It's a coming of age story unlike any you've ever read, full of past pains, numerous laughs, and future hopes.

From early on Bulla's entire existence is built on lies, one after the next, as he struggles to fit into a world that has no place for boys like him. From his early days of school yard gangs with only imaginary enemies, to high school where his sexuality first becomes fodder for crueler classmate's ridicule and slurs, he tries his best to play it straight, glomming onto the slutty girls in hopes of preserving his carefully erected reputation as a playa. Along the way he immerses himself in drugs, first pot, then whiskey, LSD, even hairspray in a pinch. The road to acceptance takes him many places along the way, more than a few I suspect we've all visited at some point regardless of our sexual orientation. When at long last he comes to realize that the disease he has suffered from for so long isn't being gay but being in denial, I couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief. Finally realizing there's no place for him in the grey city of Milan, he sets out on the road to London.

If you've forgotten the blinding intensity of adolescence, this story will bring it screaming back to the forefront of your memory. Learning to accept yourself as you are is tough enough without the added complications of having your sexual preferences make you a social pariah. Bulla's writing is every bit as raw as it is poetic and I found myself alternately laughing and wincing as I read. It's a fantastic read by an exceptionally talented writer that should appeal to any reader, regardless of your orientation.
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