Dinu Grigorescu – ‘Romanian by birth, French by choice and English by accident’ – recalls a tale of lost love. He is close to sixty and close to death in his Marylebone flat, but takes us back to his gorgeous youth (he looks, we’re repeatedly told, like Rudolf Valentino) in 1920s Paris. As the 19-year-old son of a moneybags businessman, he was sent there from Bucharest to gain polish, indulge his literary ambitions and lose his cherry in the traditional fashion amid la vie de Bohème.
Young Dinu, however, is already aware that his taste doesn’t run to even the most bosomy Parisian tarts. Instead, he follows gossip to Monsieur Albert’s exclusive male establishment where, among the ‘purveyors of naughtiness’, he finds hairy Honoré, ‘a beast beyond compare’. Young Dinu discovers that the hirsute hooker is