Once di Canzio pushes past his borrowed characters’ figural greenwood, his goal in reanimating them becomes clearer. In following the couple beyond a hazily suggested happy ever after, di Canzio makes Forster’s wish for them all the more tangible as he shows these characters building a life for themselves on their own terms ... There’s a sweeping romantic vision here that’s as old-fashioned as it is refreshingly modern, with this war-torn couple pining away for each other as they hold their love in the highest esteem, in bold defiance of English laws and customs ... reads like an attempt to make these forgotten men feel less alone, to proliferate their stories. In nudist safe havens in the countryside at peacetime, codified arrangements between privates and majors during war, lurid encounters in Continental brothels while on leave and lively salon conversations about Hellenistic poetry post-armistice, the novel presents the many ways other 'outlaws' like Maurice and Alec successfully, if tenuously, carved out spaces for themselves ... fiction as queer archaeology, demonstrating that looking back doesn’t necessarily mean looking backward.
... a debut with a bold premise, if also a subtle one, surrounded by some of the most conflicted critical terrain in Western literature. And it seems to me that among Alec’s missions is to reopen that discussion, with the question of just what Forster was doing when he wrote and published Maurice, and why ... Alec is the product of a sexually sophisticated imagination, unlike Maurice, and so we find the lovers borrowed from Forster hard at it, so to speak, and in full enjoyment of each other ... Di Canzio’s descriptions of their experiences are harrowing, tender, brutal, and comic ... There is another kind of wish fulfillment here that eventually tugged at me. There are wealthy people who are kind, perhaps too kind, and a certain baroness especially, though I adored her. A scene set at a party she throws is one of my very favorites. These angelic benefactors function collectively at times as a Deus Ex Machina...though if you remember the way beauties can open doors, hearts, and wallets, perhaps Alec is something of an accidental courtesan, constantly surprised by the generosity of those around him in response to his beauty ... I am interested in whether a reader who knows nothing of Maurice or Forster will find Alec as involving or compelling as I did. I don’t have the answer yet.
The classic love story of upperclass Englishman Maurice Hill and gamekeeper Alec Scudder comes alive again in this inspired reimagining ... Although told this time from Alec’s point of view, the new novel successfully captures the spirit of Forster’s original (even its occasionally fusty tone) ... Whether Maurice is dead or not adds a welcome air of suspense to the otherwise quiet but compelling story. If there is a quibble, it is that the ending seems rather anticlimactic, but no matter: the love story itself remains timeless, and its seamless reimagining is an altogether memorable accomplishment. One imagines Forster would be pleased.