Browsing: The Food of Love

September – October, 2006

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Thoughts on the news of the day

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Before Night Falls, the memoir by Reinaldo Arenas, gay Cuban novelist and poet, political dissident and prisoner, foe of Castro’s repressive regime, was published posthumously in 1993 to immediate acclaim. … Several of my gay friends were reading the book and enthusiastically recommended it to me. One of them finally put a copy in my hands and I read it; instantly drawn in, I too fell in love with Arenas and his story, so engagingly told, so full of adventure, vivid personalities, sex, escapes, suicides, betrayals. I was gushing about it to a friend who said, “Why don’t you turn it into an opera?” Reflexively, I said that was impossible: far too episodic, with way too many characters. How could Before Night Falls possibly be staged?

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DUTCH POET and novelist Jacob Israël de Haan was born in Smilde, the Netherlands, on December 31, 1881, and murdered in Jerusalem on June 30, 1924. As a writer, he is perhaps best known for his first novel Pijpelijntjes, which appeared in 1904 and caused a considerable uproar on account of its explicit description of a homosexual relationship, the first such description in Dutch literature.

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I spoke to Maupin via phone in San Francisco about his novel and the new film adaptation, about his æsthetic sensibility in general, and about his views on the future of gay and lesbian people.

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Max, the first-person narrator, is a likable character. Readers might find themselves comparing him to the “stone butch” character they met thirteen years ago in Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues. But Drag King Dreams is not a sequel-not exactly.

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Her [Mary Wollstonecraft] great book-A Vindication of the Rights of Women-was published in 1792 when she was 33. Three years later she began her great experiment: a relationship with William Godwin, …

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Behind the Mask of the Mattachine makes the case for linking Hal Call’s political and erotic activism. This is no typical biography, but a “chronicle,” marked by extensive quotations from oral history interviews conducted before Call’s death in 2000 …

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The rat story has been part of Proust’s legend for years, although—in the recent biography by Jean Yves Tadie, and here, in Proust in Love—there is no proof that it is true.

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THE UNNAMED NARRATOR of this remarkable novel arrives in Washington, D.C., on Martin Luther King Day to try to reboot his life after a long period of paralytic mourning for his mother, for friends lost to AIDS, and for his own lost youth, as well. He is somewhere in his fifties and single. His mother has been dead for more than five years, his father far longer than that. If he has had any history of romantic fulfillment, he does not cherish it. This man feels terribly alone.

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