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Dancer from the Dance (1978)

de Andrew Holleran

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1,0191120,447 (3.94)32
One of the most important works of gay literature, this haunting, brilliant novel is a seriocomic remembrance of things past -- and still poignantly present. It depicts the adventures of Malone, a beautiful young man searching for love amid New York's emerging gay scene. From Manhattan's Everard Baths and after-hours discos to Fire Island's deserted parks and lavish orgies, Malone looks high and low for meaningful companionship. The person he finds is Sutherland, a campy quintessential queen -- and one of the most memorable literary creations of contemporary fiction. Hilarious, witty, and ultimately heartbreaking, Dancer from the Dance is truthful, provocative, outrageous fiction told in a voice as close to laughter as to tears.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porRGordon93, CenterLBbackup, Amateria66, gainesvillepride, jlala21, PocuNY, altivo, smids
Bibliotecas HistóricasNewton 'Bud' Flounders
  1. 12
    The Wild Swans de Peg Kerr (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: Wild Swans contain a fairy tale retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson story "The Wild Swans". Entwined with this, but only tangentially related, is the coming of age story of a gay youth in New York. This is the aftermath of the wild 70'es described in Dancer from the Dance.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 11 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Don't give up on this novel halfway through, as I almost did. Even though in the middle stretches the characters become tiresome and the prose tries too hard to charm the reader, it all picks up again in the final quarter. The queens age and the death mentioned at the beginning approaches and the story derives some direction from both of these elements. There are a couple of quotable passages, too, so all in all reading this somewhat flawed book is an experience I'm glad I've had. ( )
  robfwalter | Jul 31, 2023 |
Another gay lit. classic that shouldn't be passed up. ( )
  Connorz | Jan 4, 2023 |
It took me a while to get into it, the language can be a bit overwrought (especially at the beginning -- it cools down quite a bit after like the first 30 pages). But also the book primarily concerns itself with a man so beautiful, everyone in NYC desires him. Unfortunately, beauty doesn't come across on the page, and he's a bit dull as a character. However, he has a best friend who is an impeccably fabulous queen, and that's the real heart of the book. But every time the friend disappears for a chapter or two, the book becomes a bit tiresome again.

But it's all a great document of gay life and culture in NYC in the 70s. Park cruising, bath houses, flop houses, speed and poppers, and endless dance parties...

https://donut-donut.dreamwidth.org/850324.html ( )
  amydross | Oct 23, 2022 |
I read this book for a 20th Century Queer project, where I am reading 100 books for 100 years, one for each year in the 20th century.

I adored this novel. Which, I realise now, at the end of lots of period-accurate racism and fetishisation, is a position of privilege. This project has taught me that although reading 100 books from 100 years of LGBTQ history seems like a great idea and a wonderful exploration of my ancestors, uh, a lot of the people published during that time were cis, white, able-bodied, gay and for the most part racist, transphobic, biphobic and ableist. And whether it's the characters or the author, it hurt then, and it hurts now.

(Hence why I am determined to read, purchase and support LGBTQ living authors as well, but this is a train of thought you're not here for, you're here for the review).

Behold, Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran. Dancer from the Dance begins with two letters between friends. One, still living in New York City, is updating his friend on the drama, the gossip and the hook ups and break ups. On page 12, it reads:

"I am in fact so depressed that last night while Bob Cjaneovic was sitting on my face, I began to think how futile life is, no matter what you do - it all ends in Death, we are given such a short time, and everything truly is, as Ecclesiastes says, Vanity, Vanity, Vanity. Of course, that only made be burrow deeper, but still - to have the thought!"

And from page 12, I was hooked. So many readers these days are tired of New York City as a setting for a book, and that I understand, but listen. Holleran brings New York to life in this novel. Few authors have so artfully rendered New York as the hot and heaving beast of my memory.

This long, sprawling book goes on and on and on about men shirtless in the summer, sleeping in parks because it's too hot to sleep in their apartment. Fire hydrants spewing water out into the street, and soda cans cooling in fridges of bodegas.

There's something Proustian about Holleran's writing, which feels odd to say, but he writes in such a worshipful way, going over every detail again and again with such care and attention that you can really feel the craft of it all.

“The greatest drug of all, my dear, was not one of those pills in so many colours that you took over the years, was not the opium, the hash you smoked in houses at the beach, or the speed or smack you shot up in Sutherland's apartment, no, it wasn't any of these. It was the city, darling, it was the city, the city itself. And do you see why I had to leave? As Santayana said, dear, artists are unhappy because they are not interested in happiness; they live for beauty. God, was that steaming, loathsome city beautiful!!! And why finally no human lover was possible, because I was in love with all men, with the city itself.”

The book certainly has its flaws. A lot of it sounds the same. The racism, the sex, and the characters just go on and on and ON. Sometimes it feels a little bit self-important, but somehow still satirical. It's a hard book to recommend, because either you'd love it or you wouldn't.

That is to say, this book is not a fast read, but a slow, meandering one. Complete with a nameless narrator in the style of Daphne du Maurier and I have to say it reminds me more of Henry James or any other great American author, perhaps a little like F Scott for all the excessive drinking, drugs and beautiful parties surrounded by beautiful people.

Glittering, gluttonous, how will we ever tell the dancer from the dance?

tw: racism, fetishisation, suicide (p. 220 or so) ( )
  lydia1879 | Feb 1, 2020 |
This is a beautifully-written novel about gay life in Manhattan in the decadent years. About the "pleasure-seekers, so bent on pleasure that they were driving right through Happiness" on their way to Fire Island as the season was ending. The story of Malone's descent is told with believable details and facets of the fabulous life--dancing and pretending that everything is brilliant and gay. With vivid imagery, lush language, and captivating depiction the gay men searching for love and acceptance in harsh, dreamlike urban landscape become as real as their life in the nineteen-seventies. The novel is notable for its literary quality and its fine portrayal of the party atmosphere of Fire Island, a summer community on Long Island.
The title of the novel is from the last line of William Butler Yeats's poem "Among School Children" which ends, "O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,/ Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?/ O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,/ How can we know the dancer from the dance?" ( )
1 vote jwhenderson | Apr 17, 2014 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 11 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
adicionado por gsc55 | editarOur Story, Christopher Hawthorne Moss (Jul 4, 2015)
 
adicionado por gsc55 | editarKit Moss Reviews, Christopher Moss (Jun 12, 2013)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (6 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Holleran, Andrewautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Erkel, Ronald vanTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Marcus, BarryCover Photoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Yeomans, CalvinAuthor Photoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Labor is blossoming or dancing where / The body is not bruised to pleasure soul, / Nor beauty born out of its own despair, / Nor bleary-eyed wisdom our to midnight oil. / O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer, / Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole? / O body swayed to the music, O brightening glance, / How can we know the dancer from the dance? (Yeats, "Among the schoolchildren")
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By his own account, the letters that begin Dancer from the Dance - which which two circuit queens, one of them retired to Florida, gossip about their exploits and their friends - saved Andrew Holleran's career. For ten years he had been trying and failing to write a publishable novel; he had given himself one last summer, at his parents' home, before calling it quits. It occurred to him to try to fashion a kind of voice that hadn't existed, quite, in American literature to that point, molding it out of letters he was exchanging with friends in New York and newsletters passed around at gay clubs. He wanted to capture a specifically queer expressiveness, what he calls, in an essay written decades later, "campy exuberance." Once he found it, the novel came with ease; the queer aesthetic he crafted served, he says, as an "Open Sesame" for the book. -Introduction, Garth Richard Greenwell
Midnight
The Deep South

Ecstasy,
It's finally spring down here on the Chattahoochee - the azaleas are in bloom, and everyone is dying of cancer. I am writing you very late at night. We have just one kerosine lamp, and the bugs outside are positively battering the screen at my elbow, trying to get at the light - like so many people we knew in New York trying to get Love, n'est-ce pas? - pushy, pushy, pushy.
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--- What I said earlier was wrong: We don't have to do anything with our lives. As long as you are alive, there's an end to it. (Paul, last page)
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One of the most important works of gay literature, this haunting, brilliant novel is a seriocomic remembrance of things past -- and still poignantly present. It depicts the adventures of Malone, a beautiful young man searching for love amid New York's emerging gay scene. From Manhattan's Everard Baths and after-hours discos to Fire Island's deserted parks and lavish orgies, Malone looks high and low for meaningful companionship. The person he finds is Sutherland, a campy quintessential queen -- and one of the most memorable literary creations of contemporary fiction. Hilarious, witty, and ultimately heartbreaking, Dancer from the Dance is truthful, provocative, outrageous fiction told in a voice as close to laughter as to tears.

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