Michael Cunningham’s The Snow Queen is Magnificent.

Near the beginning of Michael Cunningham’s magnificent new novel, one of the main characters has a potentially life-changing experience:  a seemingly celestial being appears to him in the sky above Central Park.  What ever this white light cloud formation is, it somehow seems to sense this person and even communicate with him.  And then it […]

Edmund White’s New Memoir is a Delicious Read.

Edmund White’s new book is a delicious read.  More than just a memoir of his years living “inside the pearl” that is Paris, it is also a peripatetic journey through France, Britain and Morocco.  Along the way, the reader will meet Michel Foucault, Milan Kundera, Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Amyn Aga Khan, Yves Saint Laurent […]

Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City Conclusion is Masterfully Constructed, Frequently Funny and Deeply Moving.

Concluding the Tales of the City series was perhaps Armistead Maupin’s most challenging literary task.  Concluding an epic novel–let alone a series of novels–involves not only revisiting the key characters and wrapping up their stories, but also the inclusion of something less tangible:  resonances of the beginning–gentle reminders of how far the characters have come.  […]

American Hipster: The Surprising Inspiration for the Beat Movement

He gave the Beat Movement its name, witnessed its history from beginning to end and was an accomplished author in his own right, but you probably haven’t heard of him.  Certainly this queer reader hadn’t heard of Herbert Huncke until he read Hillary Holladay’s biography of him.  Yet Ms. Holladay makes the convincing case that […]

Cynthia Carr’s Award-Winning David Wojnarowicz Biography is in Paperback Today.

Cynthia Carr re-invented the biography genre in Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz.  Shunning the usual pseudo-omniscient narrator’s voice, she instead brings in many voices–many witnesses to the life of Mr. Wojnarowicz–and frequently leaves it to the reader to decide which voice is closest to the truth.  Also–without giving away […]

Local Souls: Three Superb New Novellas from Allan Gurganus

Allan Gurganus’s new book, Local Souls, is a collection of three novellas.  They share a common location–the fictional town of Falls, North Carolina–and also a common theme:  survival.  They are rendered in a style that is at once lyrical and hyper-realistic.  And they are also frequently funny.  It’s quite an accomplishment:  this marriage of high […]

Benjamin Alire Saenz is a Great American Short Story Writer.

Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club is an excellent book.  I’m not the first to notice this.  It won the Lambda Award last month and before that, Benjamin Alire Saenz’s collection of short stories won the coveted Faukner Award.  While my review of this book is relatively tardy, it should not denote any […]

Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother? is Now in Paperback.

Alison Bechdel’s latest graphic novel, Are You My Mother? is now available in paperback.  As Queer Readers will recall, I loved this book. It’s a good time to pick up a copy.  And of course, Ms. Bechdel’s masterpiece, Fun Home–which I also strongly recommended–is now available in both hardcover and softcover (as well as e-editions.) […]

David McConnell’s American Honor Killings is a Remarkable Literary Achievement.

Some of the finest non-fiction crime writing can be found in David McConnell’s new book, American Honor Killings.  At it’s best, Mr. McConnell’s writing compares favorably to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Norman Mailer’s Executioner’s Song.  It is entirely appropriate that this book is dedicated to Edmund White, because, like Mr. White, David McConnell […]

Edmund White’s Jack Holmes and His Friend is in Paperback Today.

A year ago, I reviewed Edmund White’s newest novel, Jack Holmes and His Friend.  Re-reading it recently it occurred to me that although I strongly recommended this novel, I did not recommend it strongly enough. Great novels beg to be read slowly.  Exquisite prose requires the reader’s full attention, particularly when it is enriched with […]

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