IN ONE Person by John Irving is published in hardback by Doubleday, priced £18.99. Available now.

'Thus play I in one person many people/And none contented'. These aptly chosen words of Shakespeare introduce John Irving's latest provocative exploration of unconventional desire and identity.

In his 13th novel, Irving constructs an intimate portrait of his bisexual protagonist, Billy Abbott.

The narrative of the main character matures as the novel progresses, and he reflects on coming to terms with his sexuality and attraction to men, women and transgenders while at school in New England, but also his later years and the impact of Aids in 1980s America.

Challenging the concept of "normality", the novel is part polemic and part expose of the widely hidden and infinitely multifaceted nature of human desire.

Those familiar with Irving's previous works will find themselves in recognisable territory as he explores well-trodden thematic paths, nonetheless this offering is engaging, relevant and meaningful.

(Reviewed by Natsayi Sithole)