“All love is natural, whether between two 15-year-old boys or any other people,” artist and author Max Kreijn says.

His new book The AltarBoy was released last week and gives insight into how life moves inexorably towards an end we cannot escape and how love conquers all.

The novel is set across Europe, including the orchards of southern Holland, Provence, the Camargue, Florence and Orvieto in Italy.

After his mother’s funeral some years ago, Kreijn found shoeboxes of photographs from his childhood. Those photographs brought back a flourish of memories and inspired the start of the novel, which is based around the love affair of two adolescence males.

“As half the book is autobiographical it seemed to be a good title for a book about two boys who fall in love,” Kreijn told SSO.

“Eddy, the altar boy of the title, falls in love with Raoul, a gipsy boy he meets in his grandfather’s orchard, and they run away to the south of France.”

But their adolescent love affair turns sour and the boys don’t meet up again for 20 years, when Eddy is living in Florence. The 35-year-olds then attempt to rekindle the love affair that came naturally to them 15 years prior.

The Altar Boy will form part of a trilogy. The second instalment, TheNot-Quite-Frozen Lake Of TenderHurt, will be out later in the year.

“It’s a gay adventure book – a boy’s own story about love and the reality that always rears its rather ugly head,” Kreijn said.

“I’m discussing the film rights at the moment, and strangely perhaps am getting great reactions from straight friends.”

The Altar Boy is available at Darlinghurst Book Shop. Contact the author on [email protected].

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