Hot Best Seller

The Beauty of Men

Availability: Ready to download

A universal tale of loneliness, aging, and the desires of the human heart, Holleran's long-awaited third novel tells the brilliant, passionate story of a man ashamed to be mourning the loss of his own youth as so many around him die young. Lark is obsessed with the beauty of youth and his own mortality, his hairline and the loss of so many of his friends to AIDS, and, abov A universal tale of loneliness, aging, and the desires of the human heart, Holleran's long-awaited third novel tells the brilliant, passionate story of a man ashamed to be mourning the loss of his own youth as so many around him die young. Lark is obsessed with the beauty of youth and his own mortality, his hairline and the loss of so many of his friends to AIDS, and, above all, with a stunningly virile man who haunts his days and his dreams.


Compare

A universal tale of loneliness, aging, and the desires of the human heart, Holleran's long-awaited third novel tells the brilliant, passionate story of a man ashamed to be mourning the loss of his own youth as so many around him die young. Lark is obsessed with the beauty of youth and his own mortality, his hairline and the loss of so many of his friends to AIDS, and, abov A universal tale of loneliness, aging, and the desires of the human heart, Holleran's long-awaited third novel tells the brilliant, passionate story of a man ashamed to be mourning the loss of his own youth as so many around him die young. Lark is obsessed with the beauty of youth and his own mortality, his hairline and the loss of so many of his friends to AIDS, and, above all, with a stunningly virile man who haunts his days and his dreams.

30 review for The Beauty of Men

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    Selected by my boyfriend after an argument where he accused me of never reading the books he recommends to me, I was disappointed that the entire reading experience made me feel like a passive witness, recognizing the undeniable literary brilliance, but only feeling it at a distant, cold remove. This was particularly disappointing considering this is one of his very favorite books. Rather than empathizing with the overwhelming despondency over the way the AIDs crisis, geographical isolation, per Selected by my boyfriend after an argument where he accused me of never reading the books he recommends to me, I was disappointed that the entire reading experience made me feel like a passive witness, recognizing the undeniable literary brilliance, but only feeling it at a distant, cold remove. This was particularly disappointing considering this is one of his very favorite books. Rather than empathizing with the overwhelming despondency over the way the AIDs crisis, geographical isolation, personal circumstances, and unreciprocated desire has left the main character's life in a state of utter ruin, I was surprised to find myself more wrapped up in–and ultimately moved by–the gut-wrenching sadness hovering over his mother's debilitating health condition(s). I still find it a bit mystifying that I generally seem more capable of relating to the queer literary output of the pre-Stonewall era than the literature that blossomed under the advancement of the Gay Rights Movement, and while acknowledging its great accomplishment, literary skill and observational acuity, The Beauty of Men ultimately reaffirmed this situation yet again. [Capsule review from the post My Year of Reading Queerly over at my blog, Queer Modernisms.]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Frederick

    This is a very controlled novel about isolation. Published in 1997, it is the story of a gay man who has been almost entirely cut off by the gay community. Because of the AIDS crisis, he finds virtually no gay men his age to befriend. Younger men have no desire to know him, for a variety of reasons: He is not young, he is not powerful and he is not wealthy. Above all, the specter of AIDS causes other gay men to be wary of him. He is a pariah among gay men due to his date of birth. This novel coul This is a very controlled novel about isolation. Published in 1997, it is the story of a gay man who has been almost entirely cut off by the gay community. Because of the AIDS crisis, he finds virtually no gay men his age to befriend. Younger men have no desire to know him, for a variety of reasons: He is not young, he is not powerful and he is not wealthy. Above all, the specter of AIDS causes other gay men to be wary of him. He is a pariah among gay men due to his date of birth. This novel could have been maudlin or preachy. Instead, it is intense without being shocking and angry without being rageful. The prose is graceful. I would recommend this to any serious student of literature.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Adam Dunn

    More than a book about the aftermath of the AIDS crisis this is really a book about aging in a youth obsessed gay culture. I had made the decision to read all of Holleran’s work after reading Dancer from the Dance and Grief, but after reading this book and Nights in Aruba, I am rethinking. Ultimately concern about growing old, especially to this mid-life crisis level presented in the book, just seems so vain. I’ve heard this story before from others, how they are now invisible when they go into a More than a book about the aftermath of the AIDS crisis this is really a book about aging in a youth obsessed gay culture. I had made the decision to read all of Holleran’s work after reading Dancer from the Dance and Grief, but after reading this book and Nights in Aruba, I am rethinking. Ultimately concern about growing old, especially to this mid-life crisis level presented in the book, just seems so vain. I’ve heard this story before from others, how they are now invisible when they go into a bar after they reach a certain age. These same people will acknowledge that they treated older men the same way when they were younger but are now painting themselves as the victim when it happens to them, as if a 20 year old was looking to hook up with someone who’s 60 on a Saturday night. I don’t really understand this and I don’t have much patience for it. When I went out when I was younger I never went for the best looking guy in the place, I went for someone uniquely attractive to me and let my attitude and enthusiasm carry me through. My personality has only gotten better with age, easier to control, so I don’t feel I’ve lost anything. I found the sections of the book about Becker, Lark’s ideal and one-night fling almost impossible to read, I’m reading them looking through my fingers because I’m cringing so much. Even Lark’s rationale for loving Becker is flawed, as this passage about late-night trysting place the boat ramp reveals: “But that’s why I love Becker. He doesn’t go to the boat ramp! He went that one night just to see what it was like. And he’s never been back since. He said he liked to talk to people first. He’s the exception to the boat ramp. An escape from the boat ramp.” So Lark goes to the boat ramp to meet someone who doesn’t go to the boat ramp. Do you know how many gay men do this with the bars to this day? It’s maddening and self-destructive and if you can’t get yourself off this cycle I don’t really have time for sympathy. The book is well written, as is all of Holleran’s work, and full of great observations: “The functional disappear at the baths almost immediately: They are having sex. The dysfunctional remain in view, sitting in the TV lounge or on a bench in the locker room, like Lark—a penitent in the street before Santiago de Compostela, asking only the pity of the passerby.” I just wish the characters were a little more aware of themselves. I did like Eddie, the 70 year-old man who cruises during the day like others play golf, it keeps him busy. He goes home to his dog at night and Lark sees it as terrible, every gay man’s worst nightmare, getting old alone. I see Lark’s life as the nightmare, caught up in the past and unable to live in reality. Give me a dog over this any day.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    My feelings about this book are a little complicated. Very little happens - the narrator pines after a one-night stand while caring for his quadriplegic, elderly mother. Things don't come to a head until the book is almost over. Holleran is a real charmer with description, and I love how expansive and meditative he is. The main character is a self-admitted hypocrite when it comes to judging others for their age and beauty. He suffers a loneliness that we watch him inflict on those around him. Th My feelings about this book are a little complicated. Very little happens - the narrator pines after a one-night stand while caring for his quadriplegic, elderly mother. Things don't come to a head until the book is almost over. Holleran is a real charmer with description, and I love how expansive and meditative he is. The main character is a self-admitted hypocrite when it comes to judging others for their age and beauty. He suffers a loneliness that we watch him inflict on those around him. The last four or five chapters, which follow a confrontation with the unrequited love, are the best in the book and stand among Holleran's best work. The book is purposefully meandering, though. I love Holleran's writing, but I did feel that the first two-thirds of the book were unnecessarily repetitive. It's tough - repetitive it's what this sort of story calls for. Anyway, this is a very powerful book about aging and loneliness. Holleran's Grief is this book's unofficial sequel. Though that book is more compact, I much prefer the expansiveness and intimacy of this one.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Juhl

    Perhaps one of the most haunting books I've ever read, with sentences that still resonate for me. It's a depressing read, if you're a gay man of a certain age, but it is Holleran's langorous writing that lifts this book into an art form. Perhaps one of the most haunting books I've ever read, with sentences that still resonate for me. It's a depressing read, if you're a gay man of a certain age, but it is Holleran's langorous writing that lifts this book into an art form.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    If Anita Brookner wrote about gay sex.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    Andrew Holleran strikes again with yet another story that strikes at the heart of gay life in his book being gay and aging, "The Beauty of Men." Following the late-in-life story of Lark, a man reeling from the deaths of all his friends by AIDS the decade prior and living alone in North Florida to care for his dying mother, "The Beauty of Men" is a tale of the loneliness that seems to accompany gay life in the 90s, when all hope, friendship, and companionship has died and left you behind. Unafraid Andrew Holleran strikes again with yet another story that strikes at the heart of gay life in his book being gay and aging, "The Beauty of Men." Following the late-in-life story of Lark, a man reeling from the deaths of all his friends by AIDS the decade prior and living alone in North Florida to care for his dying mother, "The Beauty of Men" is a tale of the loneliness that seems to accompany gay life in the 90s, when all hope, friendship, and companionship has died and left you behind. Unafraid to confront the issues of aging, changing bodies, and the challenges of being older in a gay community obsessed with youth, Lark embodies the loneliness we as gay men so greatly fear as we age. Sometimes overdrawn with too much nostalgia and a bit much "bitter old queen" talk, much of this book still remains essential: a reminder to care for our elders and that loneliness happens in our community but is something we should, young and old, fight together against.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Wilcox

    Very eloquent description of life of a gay man in the mid-1980's. Lark has moved to Florida to care for his mother for the past twelve years after she fell and broke her neck. Over the same time period he has watched several of his New York friends die from AIDS. He has a sexual encounter with Becker, a man a little over a decade younger, and becomes almost obsessed with the man. While dealing with his mother's care and his loss of friends, he also tries to deal with growing older in the gay com Very eloquent description of life of a gay man in the mid-1980's. Lark has moved to Florida to care for his mother for the past twelve years after she fell and broke her neck. Over the same time period he has watched several of his New York friends die from AIDS. He has a sexual encounter with Becker, a man a little over a decade younger, and becomes almost obsessed with the man. While dealing with his mother's care and his loss of friends, he also tries to deal with growing older in the gay community. Mildly dated but overall still very relevant and the relationship with his mother is very touching. A good solid novel.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Although I find Holleran's writing to be beautiful especially when setting the scenes endlessly switching from flashback to flashback, I couldn't get into the content with enough conviction. Lark is our main character torn between leaving NYC for "twelve days" and now, twelve years later, Lark, 47 yrs old, is still here in Gainsville, Florida taking care of his quadriplegic mother and reminiscing on the earlier days of youth and beauty and men... He becomes a stalker, obsessing over a sexual enc Although I find Holleran's writing to be beautiful especially when setting the scenes endlessly switching from flashback to flashback, I couldn't get into the content with enough conviction. Lark is our main character torn between leaving NYC for "twelve days" and now, twelve years later, Lark, 47 yrs old, is still here in Gainsville, Florida taking care of his quadriplegic mother and reminiscing on the earlier days of youth and beauty and men... He becomes a stalker, obsessing over a sexual encounter he once had 10 years prior in the mensroom near the local boat dock that he continues to prowl. And now his perspective on Life is jaded, lost, depressing, death. Age and AIDS...grim

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bryant

    I am glad this book exists, because it captures the impact of a horrible disease on a particular group of people at a specific moment in time. But man I did not love reading this book. The narrator is so sad, so defeated, in ways that elicit frustration more than sympathy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ghalib Dhalla

    Anything Holleran writes is pretty much sacred to me. An achingly beautiful novel with prose that practically sings.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Not necessarily universal, but an exploration of what can happen to Gay men who are aging and alone. It is colored somewhat by the effects of the AIDS epidemic on survivors in the 90's. Still for those who still have time, it is a warning to prepare yourself for your elder years. The comparison of Lark's and his mother's situation is apt. 9 of 10 stars Not necessarily universal, but an exploration of what can happen to Gay men who are aging and alone. It is colored somewhat by the effects of the AIDS epidemic on survivors in the 90's. Still for those who still have time, it is a warning to prepare yourself for your elder years. The comparison of Lark's and his mother's situation is apt. 9 of 10 stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Last year I said I wouldn't torture myself by reading classic gay literature set in an around the aftermath of the AIDS crisis in the USA. And yet here I am again. It's quite interesting that the writing itself is mostly emotionless. and that's pretty much how I felt after finishing. Half the time I wanted to give Lark a big hug and the other half of the time I wanted to shake him and say "wake up to yourself". Last year I said I wouldn't torture myself by reading classic gay literature set in an around the aftermath of the AIDS crisis in the USA. And yet here I am again. It's quite interesting that the writing itself is mostly emotionless. and that's pretty much how I felt after finishing. Half the time I wanted to give Lark a big hug and the other half of the time I wanted to shake him and say "wake up to yourself".

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    What a miserable book. Extremely reptitive with no pathos, catharsis or movement of plot. At 270+ pages it’s too long and the titular character is rather unlikable with little redeeming qualities (even molesting an unconscious man). A painful read even if enlightening on the ramifications of the AIDS crisis.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mikael Kuoppala

    In his third novel Andrew Holleran explores the subjects of aging and loss. The protagonist is Lark, a middle aged gay man who is faced with the cold truth of lost youth. Lark's life is filled with aimless midnight cruising and lonely moments of despair in his empty apartment. He has lost his professional drive a long time ago and most of his closest friends have fallen victim to the AIDS epidemic. Lark's whole existence is completely saturated with the dull despair of someone who grieves after In his third novel Andrew Holleran explores the subjects of aging and loss. The protagonist is Lark, a middle aged gay man who is faced with the cold truth of lost youth. Lark's life is filled with aimless midnight cruising and lonely moments of despair in his empty apartment. He has lost his professional drive a long time ago and most of his closest friends have fallen victim to the AIDS epidemic. Lark's whole existence is completely saturated with the dull despair of someone who grieves after lost opportunities and the beauty he sees around him and is now unable to reach. "The Beauty of Men" is a lament, but one that doesn't feel over the top or too self conscious. It's an honest and beautiful character study filled with keen observations about a modern life as it is gradually nearing its latter half. Holleran's language is lucid, yet lyrical and melancholic. It's extremely disturbing how obsessively Lark grieves because he cannot satisfy the sexual longing he feels towards men he is now invisible to. Even more disturbing is how desperately he longs after the feeling of desire itself. I thought the numbing of primal urges is the main good thing about growing old and supposedly wise. Well, however it actually goes, Holleran's writing is alarmingly plausible. In the middle of all the bitterness about unattained beauty and longing, aging and eventual death are most effectively present in scenes that takes place in a nursing home Lark visits daily to take care of his paralyzed mother. The interaction between mother and son is powerful in its hopelessness and sad beauty. And the atmosphere of a place where life is quietly dimming is strongly presented and I think crystallizes the essence of this magnificent piece of modern literature.

  16. 4 out of 5

    JSidelinger

    "The Beauty of Men” is a poignant story of loss and loneliness told from the perspective of Lark, 47 years old, residing in Florida to take care of his invalid mother. Lark was young in the heyday of the 70’s when beautiful men enjoyed a carefree hedonism yet unaffected by the AIDS epidemic. It is a sad story filled with pathos and angst, as Lark recounts his friends from his glory days (all of whom have died), while he is aging alone without love, yet continually seeking it in the places he fee "The Beauty of Men” is a poignant story of loss and loneliness told from the perspective of Lark, 47 years old, residing in Florida to take care of his invalid mother. Lark was young in the heyday of the 70’s when beautiful men enjoyed a carefree hedonism yet unaffected by the AIDS epidemic. It is a sad story filled with pathos and angst, as Lark recounts his friends from his glory days (all of whom have died), while he is aging alone without love, yet continually seeking it in the places he feels reduced to haunting for brief encounters – a secluded boat ramp as an example. There is a sense of melancholy pervasive from beginning to end in this story, but Holleran writes so elegantly, capturing the character’s sense of diminishment so precisely, you appreciate the writer rather than the mood evoked. Lark is a healthy middle-aged man. He is experiencing the natural aging process yet cannot seem to reconcile himself to it. Instead of acceptance and appreciation (he’s alive, he made it through the plague - his friend’s did not), he mourns the loss of youth and beauty - searching it out like the Holy Grail - an acolyte at the altar of younger men rather than the priest. As I read the story of Lark, I kept remembering Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29, “When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state…And look upon myself and curse my fate.” “The Beauty of Men” is eloquent and poetic although I found it somewhat heartbreaking at times. It is not necessarily a “must” read, but it certainly a worthwhile one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I love how many truths there are in this book related to aging, sexuality and being alone. There's an unforgettable line in it - "When you need a mother, anyone's mother will do." A good friend of mine is a gay man serving a long prison sentence, and he has lamented about aging and living a life devoid of healthy romantic fulfillment. I gave him a copy of this book and it was great conversation fodder. This is a powerful, honest book. I love how many truths there are in this book related to aging, sexuality and being alone. There's an unforgettable line in it - "When you need a mother, anyone's mother will do." A good friend of mine is a gay man serving a long prison sentence, and he has lamented about aging and living a life devoid of healthy romantic fulfillment. I gave him a copy of this book and it was great conversation fodder. This is a powerful, honest book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    Maybe the most depressing and one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Maybe the most depressing and one of the most beautiful books I've ever read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Santana

    Painfully true. Awfully real. Wonderfully incisive.

  20. 5 out of 5

    kate

    A slow, lonely, circular book about all the ways the body betrays us. The body betrays us when it becomes broken and paralyzed. Or, the body becomes sick. Or, the body ages, rendering us unworthy vessels, casting us off our pedestals. Worst of all, it wants and desires. It needs. And through all this needing, it sets us apart from society, dooms us, leaves us to terrible scenarios where we don’t get the things we want, or we are considered diseased and insane and deviant and unneeded. We are perc A slow, lonely, circular book about all the ways the body betrays us. The body betrays us when it becomes broken and paralyzed. Or, the body becomes sick. Or, the body ages, rendering us unworthy vessels, casting us off our pedestals. Worst of all, it wants and desires. It needs. And through all this needing, it sets us apart from society, dooms us, leaves us to terrible scenarios where we don’t get the things we want, or we are considered diseased and insane and deviant and unneeded. We are perceived as that which should be corrected or punished or destroyed. The main betrayal Lark registers is aging. He is very distressed by the way his body keeps striding forward in time, changing without his approval. We could chalk this up to vanity, but I think in this case it is more complex. Yes, Lark hates aging for what it represents on the surface: mortality, exile from desirability, a shifting of one’s place in community, a vacuum appearing where you once totaled your worth. Lark’s body has betrayed him by aging because aging is a sign of survival. Lark left New York when it was a graveyard. He lives in the lush swamps of Florida and they’ve never seemed more dry and lifeless, beautiful baroque descriptions aside. He survives. His body keeps going. Day after day, the same sad routines, the same foot in front of the other. He drives the same routes, haunts the same boat ramp, the same bars, the same nursing home where he visits his mother, trapped in a body she cannot use the way she wants. Lark muses on the similar circumstances of his own imprisonment. How dare this body of his keep him here, suspended. How dare he survive and have to bear all that guilt. Of course he transposes so much of that panic to Becker - young, healthy, seemingly untouched by the things about gay culture that have Lark so jaded - but Becker also lacks a body, in many ways, because he was known in the flesh once and now lives only in fantasy, so he can become the vessel for Lark to pour everything into, and he cannot betray Lark in that space - only the memories of Becker’s actual being are the things capable of hurting Lark, which is, perhaps, why he stays away without ever letting go. Lark circles the memory of Becker like a drain. He watches the lit windows of Becker’s house at night, thinks about Becker’s body touching other bodies. He lets himself be consumed by this obsession because, among many other things, it distracts him from the sad reality of being a survivor. This book leaves you drained. There’s so much life and vivacious energy in Holleran’s earlier work and I can see how people might be turned off by the sense of utter defeat that infects this one, the feeling you’re trapped in this work with Lark, two prisoners serving time together. I think that is the point, really. There is beautiful language, beautiful sentiments, and the loneliness is terrible to experience but it is gorgeously rendered. To me, that is more than worth the price of a rather difficult reading experience.

  21. 4 out of 5

    R.J. Gilmour

    Holleran's third novel, The Beauty of Men is the story of an aging gay male who leaves NYC in the middle of the HIV epidemic to care for his mother in Florida. The main character, Lark literally has his life put on hold for twelve years caring for his mother who broke her neck in a household accident. It is a fascinating and candid look at how aging and the epidemic impacted the lives of gay men of a certain age and how Lark deals with the larger questions about life in general. Like all of Holl Holleran's third novel, The Beauty of Men is the story of an aging gay male who leaves NYC in the middle of the HIV epidemic to care for his mother in Florida. The main character, Lark literally has his life put on hold for twelve years caring for his mother who broke her neck in a household accident. It is a fascinating and candid look at how aging and the epidemic impacted the lives of gay men of a certain age and how Lark deals with the larger questions about life in general. Like all of Holleran's novels it is written in a straightforward manner in a simple but readable style that again privileges the larger issues in Lark's life. While I enjoyed the book, because so many of the characters were people I have known, I found myself curious about some of the minor characters, especially Lark's older friend, Sutcliffe and his life. "The year 1983 marked a deep change in his world. Lark is still waiting for someone to step forward and say, "This has all been a mistake. Let's go back to the second scene on page eight and start all over from there." But no one has." 7 "That's all AIDS is...Very accelerated aging, illness, and death. Eddie went from forty nine to ninety-two in less than a year..It has been a year; incredible as that seems, he's sure of that, though time has sort of flattened out the past decade...That's characteristic of middle age, he heard. Life turns into a vast flat ocean, like the sea at the equator, on which the two points of departure and arrival-Birth and Death-are, for a while, invisible. He no longer makes any effort to measure Time...He dates the beginning of this epoch of timelessness from his mother's fall and Eddie's death; but from then on, it is all so seamless, odourless, featureless continuum, like the drab landscape of pine and oak around here-a sort of limbo." 8 "He remembers beginning to feel more like a ghost himself each time he returned, walking the streets with the realization that his own friends, his youth, his visibility were gone-that you become a ghost before you die sometimes, not after." 10 "We're like two brokers in the twenties, he thought, who lost everything in the stock market crash. The business in which they had invested everything had collapsed." 31 "That's the reason. I'm needy. He could smell it. He could see it. And there's nothing more frightening than someone who's needy-someone who's drowning and may pull you under-which meant he refrained from calling the thirty year old." 83 "Life is sad," Ernie says. "Because you never know what you've got until you lose it. You know the saying, Life is lived forward, but understood backward." 121 "Tennessee Williams said, "Each time I pick someone up on the street, I leave a piece of my heart in the gutter." 223 "You want to dwell on the imperfections. The Jesuits call it morose delectation." 250 "In its place is an indescribable emptiness, a lightness that is very heavy, a long, golden autumn in north Florida he has no idea what to with." 272

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nate

    Very beautiful writing beset by an overwhelming bleakness I read this years ago, after having read (at some earlier point) Dancer from the Dance, Nights in Aruba, and Ground Zero. I've since read Nights many times; and recently I picked up Ground again. And now I can see why it makes sense to read those three books as a precursor to this one. The first two novels must be somewhat autobiographical, especially the second. They are both stunning. In the third book, we have essays, so the move is to n Very beautiful writing beset by an overwhelming bleakness I read this years ago, after having read (at some earlier point) Dancer from the Dance, Nights in Aruba, and Ground Zero. I've since read Nights many times; and recently I picked up Ground again. And now I can see why it makes sense to read those three books as a precursor to this one. The first two novels must be somewhat autobiographical, especially the second. They are both stunning. In the third book, we have essays, so the move is to non-fiction. Then, as though to make a trilogy with Dancer and Nights, Holleran gives us The Beauty of Men, wherein characters from Nights and Ground appear. And again, it must be -- and very much so -- that Holleran is writing autobiography. And this is detrimental. Why? It is as though Holleran (as the central character Lark -- and what's with the soap opera name?) is trying to work out or through his depression at having grown older and being alone, caring for a dying mother in northern Florida. The insistence and repetition of his plaints are at first sad, then irritating, then off-putting. You want to say, Visit a therapist, for pete's sake. When I first read it, I read it through and remember thinking, "It is the beauty of Holleran's writing that saves the book." This time around it could not. I read about 100 pages, and then decided to read the last twenty. And I don't feel I missed much. And this is unfortunate. Nights in Aruba is my favourite novel. It is brilliant and affecting, with a sly debt to Proust and the examination of time. Beautiful. So, preserve your memory of that earlier beauty and avoid this book. Or do read it, with caveats.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Yarbrough

    I first read this book right after it came out in the mid 90's. I was in my twenties then and just recently discovered Andrew Holleran. Clinging to every word he'd written, I devoured his latest book about an aging gay man who is caring for his paraplegic mother while also obsessing over a man he picked up at the boat docks one night. I couldn't relate to it. It was just a slice of gay life I had yet to experience myself. I was happy to be reading a new book from an author I loved. Now in my 40s, I first read this book right after it came out in the mid 90's. I was in my twenties then and just recently discovered Andrew Holleran. Clinging to every word he'd written, I devoured his latest book about an aging gay man who is caring for his paraplegic mother while also obsessing over a man he picked up at the boat docks one night. I couldn't relate to it. It was just a slice of gay life I had yet to experience myself. I was happy to be reading a new book from an author I loved. Now in my 40s, I reread it and came away with a whole new relatable experience. I've experienced the loneliness and obsession of the main character, Lark. The scenes of him visiting his mother in the senior center were also relatable, as my dad spent the last three years of his life in one as well. I've lost friends to AIDS. I've reminisced over the way things were "back then." I've mourned my youth and a parent. I've felt invisible and unattractive. The book holds up. It's a classic in gay literature that I'm sure I'll read again in another twenty years. True to life, there isn't much hope in the end, but we don't always need hope to enjoy a book. Sometimes a book should just give us a hard slap in the face and remind us of the better times we've forgotten or wasted.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    If I could give stars just for the ending, I would give this book 4 stars, because the ending was very moving, but I don’t think as a whole it’s a great book. It’s about a pathetic man who whole-heartedly embraces a value-system that devalues and rejects him, and it makes him miserable and lonely. I think this book showed less maturity, and demonstrated less talent, than “Dancer from the Dance,” which Holleran wrote in the 70s. The writing is good, though, and he really does know how to bring a If I could give stars just for the ending, I would give this book 4 stars, because the ending was very moving, but I don’t think as a whole it’s a great book. It’s about a pathetic man who whole-heartedly embraces a value-system that devalues and rejects him, and it makes him miserable and lonely. I think this book showed less maturity, and demonstrated less talent, than “Dancer from the Dance,” which Holleran wrote in the 70s. The writing is good, though, and he really does know how to bring a place to life, even a place as drab and boring as Florida.

  25. 4 out of 5

    爾凡

    I found Holleran's illustrative writing style quite suit to short novel format, after i read September, the light change. With the ordinary and languor tone, it is overall persimistic on the view of aging sexual life and non-reciporal romance storyline. The lack of profoundness and resonation in those issue, let reader outside the culture its descript. But i can have a more empathy toward Lark-mother relation, the bonding, responsibility and dependency. Some perceptive lines on the general gay e I found Holleran's illustrative writing style quite suit to short novel format, after i read September, the light change. With the ordinary and languor tone, it is overall persimistic on the view of aging sexual life and non-reciporal romance storyline. The lack of profoundness and resonation in those issue, let reader outside the culture its descript. But i can have a more empathy toward Lark-mother relation, the bonding, responsibility and dependency. Some perceptive lines on the general gay experience that perhaps records the ethos to 70s-80s.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Raymond Luis

    This book made me rethink my life as a gay man. I realized through this novel that youth and beauty are not all they are cracked up to be. I recommend this book to any millennial gay male, and reconnect with the pain suffered by our gay forefathers. AIDS ravaged a whole generation and this book is a recollection of that aftermath. The pausing of death through injury and disease, is a deep theme here and it came at a time in my life when I needed to hear about it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ella Gauci

    This book was a knockout. The style, plot, and sheer angst and pain that was conveyed was fantastic. It was the first time in a while that I have genuinely felt bad for a character. Lark’s life is so utterly miserable and insular that you can’t help but want to give him a hug. The narrative was constructed so carefully and meticulously that you feel as though this man is real. Holleran explores the overarching themes of beauty, age, and death in a way that feels fresh and new.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Yusuf Nasrullah

    Suffused with the leaden weight of sadness and unrequited yearning, this novel paints a very grim picture of gay life in the mature years. I was happy to put the book away when finished.

  29. 4 out of 5

    samfelix

    Beautifully written, delicately and intimately 'touches' on some of our most acute fears: immobility and illness, loneliness, aging, never finding true love. Beautifully written, delicately and intimately 'touches' on some of our most acute fears: immobility and illness, loneliness, aging, never finding true love.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Heiner

    i feel EMPTY but FULL of decay, understanding, and gay doom

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...