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By Robert Riche
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
Being familiar already with the work of author Robert Riche, I can assure you that his latest novel, The Flautist, is more of the same, which you'll react to based on what you think of his type of writing in general; namely, genteel narratives about gracefully aging upper-middle-classers, facing a series of quiet crises in the twilights of their lives that their Modernist youths didn't prepare them for. In this case, for example, that's a sudden new realization about sexual orientation in our hero narrator, a former full-time flute player who has been given a a solo plane ticket to a prestigious European classical festival as a present by his wife, and who meets a wealthy and connected patron while there that starts him on his rabbithole tumble into the world of sixtysomething homosexuality. As such, then, the novel itself is well-done, but by necessity will appeal only to a select amount of audience members; and you should also be aware that this is much more a deep character study than anything else, and that you're in for a languid and leisurely paced story if you end up picking this up. The kind of book where people call each other "darling" unironically on a regular basis, this will be just the ticket for existing fans of, say, late-period Richard Russo, although others should stay well clear of this pleasurable but older-skewing tale.
Out of 10: 8.0