Archive for the ‘Writers-American’ Category

In which The Gay Recluse reads an acclaimed book of contemporary fiction and is more than disappointed. When we first received our copy of Call Me By Your Name (FSG, 2007) by Andre Aciman, we were a bit startled (but pleased, to be sure) that a book about a love affair between a 17-year-old boy […]

In which The Gay Recluse looks at the suffocation of the gay voice at The New York Times and other hallmarks of the new dark ages. For those who missed it, we would like to point you in the direction of a recent post by Jeff Weinstein, in which he compares a truth about Jasper […]

There is something oddly unsatisfying about The Master, Colm Toibin’s 2004 treatment of the life of Henry James. Odd because we almost always love Toibin’s prose, which is elegant but unpretentious, and — unlike so much contemporary fiction — never shifts tenses or otherwise calls attention to itself in a distracting or superfluous manner. Occasionally […]

In which The Gay Recluse ponders a sampling of recent search terms used to find the very pages you are now reading. Note: All search terms listed are in the exact form provided by, which is the host (at least for a while) of this blog. Hyperlinks to relevant posts included. Search: disaster + […]

In which The Gay Recluse looks back at a classic of post-war American fiction written in a gay voice. Admittedly, to read Gore Vidal’s 1946 novel The City and the Pillar is to be thrown with startling efficiency into what has to be one of the bleakest periods in history, the post-war era of the […]

With the publication of Henry James: The Mature Master, the second in a two-volume biography by Sheldon Novick, we can expect the coming weeks/months/years to be marked by the usual chorus of naysayers who like to challenge any assertion of same-sex activity by a historical figure — even one like James with such a recognizable […]

Have we ever told you just how grateful we are to the Audubon Station Post Office in Washington Heights? They have taught us so much, and not just about patience and resolve when it comes to standing in the six-hour lines that perpetually meander through their sallow, fluorescent interiors, but about the need to resign […]

As anyone who has read Cormac McCarthy knows, the best (which is to say, the truest) stories of the American West — although like pretty much anywhere, once you peel back enough layers — are filled with unfathomable extremes of violence and oppression; this was more than confirmed for us recently when we read (as […]

On The Weekend


Once again with a thought to dip into the backlist of American fiction written in a “gay voice,” we turn our attention to The Weekend, Peter Cameron’s deceptively bitter 1994 novel about two couples — one straight and one gay — who spend a weekend at the straight couple’s house in upstate New York. This […]

In reading great works of literature, we are sometimes struck by the presence of what could be termed a “gay voice.” It is a voice that resonates with perspective of the sexually-oriented “outsider,” so that we come away with an understanding (and it does not have arrive by way of a literal representation) that “heterosexuality” […]

In today’s Times, we are told by critic Edward Rothstein with regard to Albus Dumbledore that the question of the wizard’s “gayness” is “irrelevant” and “distracting” given the character’s later vows of celibacy and his more high-minded efforts to save the world. Here we have a perfect example of the sort of tepid, mediocre and […]

In a profile included in this month’s Poets & Writers Magazine, Benjamin Percy — a young American genius said to have written the “story of the year” in 2006 — tells us: “I am interested in this new masculinity in today’s society, what distinguishes us as men and as women besides our biology. No longer […]

Of all the critics and columnists in recent history at The Times, Herbert Muschamp and Cathy Horyn are the only ones who have succeeded in gripping us with every sentence that ever appeared under their respective names. Now, of course, Muschamp is dead, returned to the same infinite folds as an entire generation of gay […]

According to an article in The Times today, “[h]omophobia directed at the elderly has many faces.” We learn of home health aides who “must be reminded not to wear gloves at inappropriate times, for example while opening the front door or making the bed, when there is no evidence of H.I.V. infection.” We learn of […]

It has been two days since we saw Tropical Malady, the 2004 film by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and still we are haunted by his depiction of the small joys and disappointments of a new love giving way to sickness and obsession; the mythological and alchemical transformation that takes place as we stalk our love, and in […]

Today we read about Exit Ghost (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), Philip Roth’s new book in which his alter ego Zuckerman is said to be (ahem) a recluse, which led us to think he might at least be on familiar terms with the sublime metaphorical/metaphysical qualities so critical to the reclusive state. We wondered if it were […]