If seeing the name Quentin Crisp immediately puts you in mind of The Naked Civil Servant, this is not the same Quentin Crisp. In fact, the Quentin Crisp who wrote Servant isn’t even Quentin Crisp but Denis Charles Pratt, while Quentin S. Crisp, the author of “Remember You’re A One-Ball!” is actually the real Quentin Crisp. Get all that? Yet, Quentin S. Crisp (born 1972 according to Wikipedia) will likely put readers in mind of the other Quentin Crisp, even though, well, the similarity ends with the name. But enough of that—this is about Quentin S. Crisp.
"Remember You're A One-Ball!" (Chomu Press) is a highly layered and intricate tale involving many things, with the most obvious being child abuse, though to grant the novel this straightforward description is to not do it justice. While some aspects of childhood abuse are covered, this is not the focus of the novel, but rather, childhood itself is, and just how much of childhood, as it relates to one’s memory, impacts one’s life later on? Ramsey is a teacher at a school he once attended. Told in first person, he is self-centered and observant, melodramatic and intelligent. Crisp crafts a wonderfully flawed yet insightful character that actually makes interesting observations. Imagine that. He becomes involved with a woman, Jacqueline, not really because he loves her or even likes her all that much, but just because she is there. The relationship between Ramsey and Jacqueline offers some of the most interesting parts of the book, for we don’t really know who Jacqueline is because we only see her through Ramsey's lens. Take this description as example:
"Jacqueline’s bedroom gave the impression of being bare without being tidy. It almost seemed more bed than room, with everything apart from the bed having the sloppy appearance of afterthought. There was the washbasin attached to the wall, over which hung a mirror spotted with something unidentified—perhaps soap or make up. There was the wardrobe, the chest-of-drawers—some drawers part way open, a bra-strap hanging from one. There was a forlorn-looking wooden chair, perhaps used by a decorator to place his radio on and then left behind, a bookshelf with a few broken-spined novels—Colette, Oscar Wilde, Brett Easton-Ellis and others—and a single print of Degas or someone equally predictable on the wall, one corner unstuck and curled up, in the right side, a tear. On the floor were a hair-dryer and a brush."