In the New York of the 1970s, in the wake of Stonewall and in the midst of economic collapse, you might find the likes of Jasper Johns and William Burroughs at the next cocktail party, and you were as likely to be caught arguing Marx at the New York City Ballet as cruising for sex in the warehouses and parked trucks along the Hudson. This is the New York that Edmund White portrays in City Boy: a place of enormous intrigue and artistic tumult.
"Pretense upon pretense."
Named for the work by Haydn in which the instrumentalists leave the stage one after another until only a single violin remains playing, this is the story of a man who has outlived most of his friends. Having reached the six-month anniversary of his lover's death, he embarks on a journey of remembrance that will recount his struggle to become a writer and his discovery of what it means to be a gay man.
Originally published in 1982 as the first of Edmund White's trilogy of autobiographical novels, A Boy's Own Story became an instant classic for its pioneering portrayal of homosexuality. The audiobook's unnamed narrator, growing up during the 1950s, is beset by aloof parents, a cruel sister, and relentless mocking from his peers, compelling him to seek out works of art and literature as solace-and to uncover new relationships in the struggle to embrace his own sexuality.
Poet and prodigy Arthur Rimbaud led a life that was startlingly short, but just as dramatically eventful and accomplished. Even today, over a century after his death in 1891, his visionary poetry has continued to influence everyone from Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan to Patti Smith. His long poem A Season in Hell (1873) and his collection Illuminations (1886) are essential to the modern canon, marked by a hallucinatory and hypnotic style that defined the Symbolist movement in poetry.
Moving from a Midwestern college to the Stonewall Tavern on the night of the first gay uprising - and populated by eloquent queens, butch poseurs, and a fearfully incompetent shrink - The Beautiful Room is Empty conflates the acts of coming out and coming of age.
In French caracole means "prancing"; in English, "caper." Both words perfectly describe this high-spirited erotic adventure. In Caracole, White invents an entire world where country gentry languish in decaying mansions and foppish intellectuals exchange lovers and gossip in an occupied city that resembles both Paris under the Nazis and 1980s New York. To that city comes Gabriel, an awkward boy from the provinces whose social naïveté and sexual ardor make him endlessly attractive to a variety of patrons and paramours.
Considered one of the greatest, and most influential, writers of the 20th century, Marcel Proust was also one of its most fascinating figures. A strange, reclusive genius who often lay in bed for days at a time obsessively rewriting his masterpiece, Remembrance of Things Past, Proust was at other times a tireless socialite, attending the grandest parties and dazzling guests with his vivacity and wit.
"Good bio, so-and-so reading"
Edmund White is one of our most celebrated novelists. He is also a brilliant journalist and cultural commentator on the arts, contributing to publications as varied The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post, House and Garden, and The New York Review of Books. In Sacred Monsters, White collects more than 20 of his most recent writings on artists and authors, including John Cheever, Patti Smith, Henry James, Mary Cassatt, and many others.
Best-selling novelist, memoirist, and biographer Edmund White displays his sharp wit and boundless erudition in 37 portraits of the writers, artists, and cultural icons who have captured his curiosity and imagination for the last 20 years. White is as compelling as he is unpretentious in these stories of his encounters with some of the most provocative writers, artists, and personalities of our time.
"Ok, but not what I was hoping for"
Along with his groundbreaking essays that redefine politics, language, identity, and friendship in the light of gay experience and desire, this magisterial collection of 25 years of White's nonfiction writings includes dazzling subversive appreciations of cultural icons as diverse as Truman Capote and Cormac McCarthy, Robert Mapplethorpe and the singer formerly known as Prince.
When Edmund White moved to Paris in 1983, leaving New York City in the midst of the AIDS crisis, he was 43 years old, couldn’t speak French, and only knew two people in the entire city. But in middle age, he discovered the new anxieties and pleasures of mastering a new culture. When he left 15 years later to take a teaching position in the U.S., he was fluent enough to broadcast on French radio and TV, and in his work as a journalist, he’d made the acquaintance of everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Catherine Deneuve to Michel Foucault.
Austin Smith is pushing fifty, loveless and drifting, until one day he meets Julien, a much younger, married Frenchman. In the beginning, the lovers' only impediments are the comic clashes of culture, age, and temperament. Before long, however, the past begins to catch up with them. In a desperate quest to save health and happiness, they move from Venice to Key West, from Montreal in the snow to Providence in the rain. But it is amid the bleak, baking sands of the Sahara that their love is pushed to its ultimate crisis.
Jack Holmes is in love, but the man he loves never shares his bed. The other men Jack sleeps with never last long and he dallies with several women. Jack's friend, Will Wright, comes from old stock, has aspirations to be a writer, and like Jack works on the Northern Review, a staid cultural quarterly. Will is shy and lonely-and Jack introduces him to the beautiful, brittle young woman he will marry. Over the years Will discovers his sensuality and almost destroys his marriage in doing so.
"Wrong Reader for This Material"
"Watergate Days" by Seymour Hersh, "Turbulence" by David Sedaris, "In Case of Emergency" by James Surowiecki, "My Women" by Edmund White, "The Great Game Gone" by John Updike, "The Gift and the Curse" by Sasha Frere-Jones, and "Aiming Low" by David Denby.
Combining glittering wit, an atmosphere dense in social paranoia, and a breathtaking elegance and precision of language, White's first novel suggests a hilarious apotheosis of the comedy of manners. For, on the privileged island community where Forgetting Elena takes place, manners are everything. Or so it seems to White's excruciatingly self-conscious young narrator who desperately wants to be accepted in this world where everything from one's bathroom habits to the composition of "spontaneous" poetry is subject to rigid conventions.
"Narrator not for me"