Gay books, "The City and the Pillar"

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    Jan 16, 2008 6:48 PM GMT
    Long shot i know, but here goes. So im in a creative writing/literature class this semester and coincidently most the topics seem to be focused around gay novels. well i just finished reading "The City and the Pillar" by Gorge Vidal which is considered to be the "first" american gay author.

    After reading the book I'm just curious if any others have read it and what your insight is.

    Of course if you haven't i suggest you do.

    So im curious what are some of the best gay genre books most of you have read?

    Any insight would be appreciated

    Thanks guys

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    Jan 16, 2008 7:35 PM GMT
    The Front Runner
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    Jan 16, 2008 7:39 PM GMT
    You should read Gore Vidal's anthology "America". It is such a good read with so many different sorts of writing.

    Samuel Delany is a must read for post-modern gay fiction.
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Jan 16, 2008 9:09 PM GMT
    I always found Gordon Merrick's stuff to be a new thing under the sun back in the day. It's completely soap opera/bodice-ripping sort of stuff, full of misogyny, subtle racism and obsession with penis size, but at least his were among the first gay novels where none of the characters ended up murdered or killing themselves in the end...
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    Jan 16, 2008 9:26 PM GMT
    I read the City and the Pillar a zillion years ago, when I was about 15, hiding in a corner of the downtown library in Atlanta. It's amazing that book was written in 1948. As I recall, it was revised in the late '60s, so there are two versions of the book.

    Which version did you read?

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    Jan 16, 2008 9:31 PM GMT
    I've been reading Ethan Mordden's "How long Has This Been Going On" which is kind of a gay Thornbirds. Its a story of the gay experience from the 1940s Hollywood to 1990 NYC.
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Jan 16, 2008 9:34 PM GMT
    Anyone ever read "The Dreyfuss Affair"? I don't have the book in front of me so can't remember who wrote it, but it's the story of a closeted MLB pitcher and his affair with his second baseman, told as a comedy. It was in development for awhile as a film vehicle for Ben Affleck, but it dropped off the table.
  • treader

    Posts: 238

    Jan 16, 2008 11:44 PM GMT

    Yes, I read "The City and the Pillar" two years ago in a book group here in Boston. There was a lot of discussion about the book. I'm not sure if I can remember all of it.

    - Our version had the reworked ending which so I don't think that I have read the orginal ending. The reworked ending is pretty shocking compared to the rest of the book. It's obviously written much later. There was discussion that publishers at that time forced writers to 'doom' their gay characters. The gay characters could never be happy by the end of the book.

    - I remember that I related to the main character in the first half of the book but then in the later half he seems obsessive, lost, and just utterly doomed.

    - It seemed like California was the place to be if you were gay but only if you had money.

    - It's hard for us today to read this book in the same context as it was written. Times have changed so much. For its time, it most have been shocking to read. Today, it's pretty tame.

    - It was an easy read. Nice narrative style. Nothing special but enjoyable.

    - I assume that the moral of the story is that you should not chase after one dream or as they say put all of your eggs into one basket. The main character had a chance to be happy but he passed it up to chase after an illusion. It seemed like the main character was doomed from the very start.

    That's all that I can remember about it. I am glad that I read it.
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    Jan 17, 2008 11:01 PM GMT
    Apparently there were three versions of the book the original book and then after three versions each with slightly different endings.
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    Mar 13, 2012 11:05 AM GMT
    I was laying in bed, unable to sleep, and thought: it would be nice to find a good book to read. So I binged "gay forums" and wound up here.
    I would like to find some good gay books.COLORED TEXT GOES HERE As I've lost two of the most dear people to me in the last few months, I'm looking for something to replace comfort food. One book I can recommend is "Maurice" by E.M. Forrester. Very good, though somewhat different from the film (which was changed to match today's gay sensibilities, I'm guessing.)
    Anyway, if anyone knows of a good, well-written book, where it is easy to identify with the main character, and is a feel-good book, I'd appreciate your input.
  • GWriter

    Posts: 1451

    Mar 13, 2012 11:09 AM GMT
    Has anyone read Thomas Mallon's Fellow Travellers? It's historical fiction set in the 1950's (mainly) about the purging of homosexuals from the State Department. Plus, a gay love story... of course.
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    Mar 13, 2012 12:07 PM GMT
    City of Night
  • carew28

    Posts: 849

    Mar 13, 2012 8:42 PM GMT
    'City of Night' by John Rechy, was the first gay novel I ever read. I read it in 1976. It was one of my first realizations that there actually was a gay community out there, made up of other people like me. I imagine that it might be a little outdated for someone who's grown up since, and might find it a little gloomy or depressing. But I thought it was great, and still do.

    I read Andrew Holleran's 'Dancer From the Dance' when it first came out, I think in the early 1980's, and I loved it. I also have enjoyed his later novels and short stories.

    I also read and enjoyed 'The Best Little Boy in the World' by Andrew Tobias, also I think in the early 1980's.

    "Good Times....Bad Times" by James Kirkwood, and "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles, aren't gay novels, but read between the lines they are sublimated gay love stories. They came out earlier, in the 1950's or 1960's