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The Beauty of Men 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 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 AIDSgrim 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 littleaware 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 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 iscompact, I much prefer the expansiveness and intimacy of this one 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 frustrationthan sympathy. 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. The new masterpiece by one of America s greatest gay literary novelists is a brilliant, passionate, lyrical story about Lark, a man ashamed to be mourning the loss of his own youth while so many around him die young A universal tale of loneliness and aging and the obsessive desires of the human heart, The Beauty of Men is an astonishingly powerful work of fiction National publcity Anything Holleran writes is pretty much sacred to me An achingly beautiful novel with prose that practically sings. 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 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


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