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Dancer from the Dance. O Corpo governato dalla musica (1978)

di Andrew Holleran

Altri autori: Vedi la sezione altri autori.

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
834919,674 (4.01)28
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.… (altro)
  1. 12
    The Wild Swans di 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.… (altro)
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» Vedi le 28 citazioni

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 |
Lovely, echoes of 'Gatsby', and a much better reading companion for a trip to and from NYC than 'The Glass Key'. A little self-indulgent, but only in the best ways. Besides, the beauty of the writing and the humor more than make up for it.

I was hooked on this book from the beginning. The exchange of letters where a former Manhattanite expounds on the glories of country life is responded to with a rich and gross description of the filth of New York City in the summertime. The odor of piss wafting off the subway lingers with me still. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Gay City Staff Pick: Beautiful, tragic, erotic, sensual, and violent. It's hard to capture the lyrical dichotomies of this book and the deep isolation and sadness it invokes. ( )
  GayCityLGBTLibrary | Aug 13, 2016 |
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 vota jwhenderson | Apr 17, 2014 |
This is a truly amazing pre-AIDS novel suffused with suffering and death but full of hope, almost as if Holleran was preparing the community for the on-slaught waiting in its wings. He has a lot of say about what's superficial and what's important in life and ultimately how they're intertwined, not to mention distorted by drugs. I've read and heard first-hand accounts of the circuit scene in New York in the 70s, and I thought Holleran added nuance and insight into a period that I think is a really important on in the history of sexual liberation.

Oh, and the writing is gorgeous. ( )
  aulsmith | Jul 14, 2013 |
 

» Aggiungi altri autori (7 potenziali)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Holleran, AndrewAutoreautore primariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Erkel, Ronald vanTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Marcus, BarryCover Photoautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Yeomans, CalvinAuthor Photoautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
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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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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.
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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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