We Think the World of You
by J. R. Ackerley, introduction by P. N. Furbank
We Think the World of You combines acute social realism and dark fantasy, and was described by J.R. Ackerley as “a fairy tale for adults.” Frank, the narrator, is a middle-aged civil servant, intelligent, acerbic, self-righteous, angry. He is in love with Johnny, a young, married, working-class man with a sweetly easygoing nature. When Johnny is sent to prison for committing a petty theft, Frank gets caught up in a struggle with Johnny’s wife and parents for access to him. Their struggle finds a strange focus in Johnny’s dog—a beautiful but neglected German shepherd named Evie. And it is she, in the end, who becomes the improbable and undeniable guardian of Frank’s inner world.
The writer of this book belongs to that rare and interesting group of writers who contrive, without ever intending to do so, to make an art of their silences. What he does produce is like nothing that has been written before or since.
—The Times Literary Supplement
J.R. Ackerley's We Think the World of You charts an unlikely course of a love affair.... The results are moving and unexpected. The hinge upon which the novel swings—and shuts—is that in matters of the heart, you must be careful what you wish for.
—Open Letters Monthly
The book is both breezy and sad. Ackerley's books are candid confessions of a good friend, full of small, hilarious surprises.
—Peter Terzian, Out
The wife gets to visit the jail. The mother gets to adopt one of the children. The stepfather gets to beat the dog. Is there nothing for the middle-aged gay lover? At first Ackerley's novel seems to be a comedy about in-laws, and Frank's indignation to be his only and inadequate weapon against a family that knows and doesn't know who he is, however willing they are to take his money. But then Frank notices a member of the family as generous and jealous as he is, and as beautiful and as vital as his imprisoned lover. He turns all his malice to the project of freeing the dog, but what he achieves turns out to be darker and stranger than liberation.