05 7 / 2013

The Folded Leaf (1945) William Maxwell
In the suburbs of Chicago in the 1920s, two boys initiate an unusual friendship: Lymie Peters, a skinny and somewhat clumsy boy who always gets good grades, and newcomer Spud Latham, a star athlete and mediocre student. Spud accepts Lymie’s devotion without questioning it, but once high school ends and the boys enter college, tensions begin to arise between them. 
Lymie is the first to meet Sally Forbes, but she will fall in love with Spud, and this will mark the beginning of the rift between them. But this rupture will be more than Lymie can bear. William Maxwell provides the reader with a moving portrayal of adolescence and the shift from youth into adulthood.

The Folded Leaf (1945) William Maxwell

In the suburbs of Chicago in the 1920s, two boys initiate an unusual friendship: Lymie Peters, a skinny and somewhat clumsy boy who always gets good grades, and newcomer Spud Latham, a star athlete and mediocre student. Spud accepts Lymie’s devotion without questioning it, but once high school ends and the boys enter college, tensions begin to arise between them.

Lymie is the first to meet Sally Forbes, but she will fall in love with Spud, and this will mark the beginning of the rift between them. But this rupture will be more than Lymie can bear. William Maxwell provides the reader with a moving portrayal of adolescence and the shift from youth into adulthood.

11 2 / 2012

Mr. Clive and Mr. Page (1998) Neil Bartlett
In 1886, an architect called Richardson built a house on the South side of Chicago. In 1985, the “Daily Mirror” reported the death of Rock Hudson. Halfway through the century that falls between these dates a man who claims his name is Mr Page sits down by his gas-fire on a snowbound Christmas Eve and sets himself the task of explaining a story that connects these apparently unconnected events. 
Neil Bartlett’s new novel spins a dark and erotic web of conjecture in the gaps of history. It takes its reader from the brittle glamour of the twenties into the violent repression of the fifties; from Mayfair dining rooms to the steam room of a gentlemen’s Turkish Bath; from the ordinary world of Mr Page into the strange and unsettling world of the black-haired, well-dressed and immensely wealthy Mr Clive.

Mr. Clive and Mr. Page (1998) Neil Bartlett

In 1886, an architect called Richardson built a house on the South side of Chicago. In 1985, the “Daily Mirror” reported the death of Rock Hudson. Halfway through the century that falls between these dates a man who claims his name is Mr Page sits down by his gas-fire on a snowbound Christmas Eve and sets himself the task of explaining a story that connects these apparently unconnected events.

Neil Bartlett’s new novel spins a dark and erotic web of conjecture in the gaps of history. It takes its reader from the brittle glamour of the twenties into the violent repression of the fifties; from Mayfair dining rooms to the steam room of a gentlemen’s Turkish Bath; from the ordinary world of Mr Page into the strange and unsettling world of the black-haired, well-dressed and immensely wealthy Mr Clive.

24 1 / 2012

The Back Passage (2006) by James Lear
A seaside village, an English country house, a family of wealthy eccentrics and their equally peculiar servants, a determined detective — all the ingredients are here for a cozy Agatha Christie-style whodunit. But wait — Edward “Mitch” Mitchell is no Hercule Poirot, and The Back Passage is no Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Mitch is a handsome, insatiable 22-year-old hunk who never lets a clue stand in the way of a steamy encounter, whether it’s with the local constabulary, the house secretary, or his school chum and fellow athlete Boy Morgan, who becomes his Watson when they’re not busy boffing each other. When Reg Walworth is found dead in a cabinet, Sir James Eagle has his servant Weeks immediately arrested as the killer. But Mitch’s observant eye pegs more plausible possibilities: polysexual chauffeur Hibbert, queenly pervert Leonard Eagle, missing scion Rex, sadistic copper Kennington, even Sir James Eagle himself. Blackmail, police corruption, a dizzying network of spyholes and secret passages, watersports, and a nonstop queer orgy backstairs and everyplace else mark this hilariously hard-core mystery

The Back Passage (2006) by James Lear

A seaside village, an English country house, a family of wealthy eccentrics and their equally peculiar servants, a determined detective — all the ingredients are here for a cozy Agatha Christie-style whodunit. But wait — Edward “Mitch” Mitchell is no Hercule Poirot, and The Back Passage is no Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Mitch is a handsome, insatiable 22-year-old hunk who never lets a clue stand in the way of a steamy encounter, whether it’s with the local constabulary, the house secretary, or his school chum and fellow athlete Boy Morgan, who becomes his Watson when they’re not busy boffing each other. When Reg Walworth is found dead in a cabinet, Sir James Eagle has his servant Weeks immediately arrested as the killer. But Mitch’s observant eye pegs more plausible possibilities: polysexual chauffeur Hibbert, queenly pervert Leonard Eagle, missing scion Rex, sadistic copper Kennington, even Sir James Eagle himself. Blackmail, police corruption, a dizzying network of spyholes and secret passages, watersports, and a nonstop queer orgy backstairs and everyplace else mark this hilariously hard-core mystery

29 12 / 2011


NIghtwood (1936) by Djuna Barnes
Set in the period between the two World Wars, Nightwood unfolds in the decadent shadows of Europe’s great cities, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna—a world in which the boundaries of class, religion, and sexuality are bold but surprisingly porous.
The outsized characters who inhabit this world are some of the most memorable in all of fiction—there is Guido Volkbein, the Wandering Jew and son of a self-proclaimed baron; Robin Vote, the American expatriate who marries him and then engages in a series of affairs, first with Nora Flood and then with Jenny Petherbridge, driving all of her lovers to distraction with her passion for wandering alone in the night; and there is Dr. Matthew-Mighty-Grain-of-Salt-Dante-O’Connor, a transvestite and ostensible gynecologist, whose digressive speeches brim with fury, keen insights, and surprising allusions. Barnes’ depiction of these characters and their relationships (Nora says, “A man is another persona woman is yourself, caught as you turn in panic; on her mouth you kiss your own”) has made the novel a landmark of feminist and lesbian literature.

NIghtwood (1936) by Djuna Barnes

Set in the period between the two World Wars, Nightwood unfolds in the decadent shadows of Europe’s great cities, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna—a world in which the boundaries of class, religion, and sexuality are bold but surprisingly porous.

The outsized characters who inhabit this world are some of the most memorable in all of fiction—there is Guido Volkbein, the Wandering Jew and son of a self-proclaimed baron; Robin Vote, the American expatriate who marries him and then engages in a series of affairs, first with Nora Flood and then with Jenny Petherbridge, driving all of her lovers to distraction with her passion for wandering alone in the night; and there is Dr. Matthew-Mighty-Grain-of-Salt-Dante-O’Connor, a transvestite and ostensible gynecologist, whose digressive speeches brim with fury, keen insights, and surprising allusions. Barnes’ depiction of these characters and their relationships (Nora says, “A man is another persona woman is yourself, caught as you turn in panic; on her mouth you kiss your own”) has made the novel a landmark of feminist and lesbian literature.

16 8 / 2011

Miss Furr and Miss Skeene (1925) by Gertrude Stein, is a poem that tells “the Tale of Two Young Ladies Who Where Gay Together and of How One Left The Other Behind.”
Miss Furr and Miss Skeene was the first published use of the word “gay” to mean homosexual, (the word had a double meaning in the poem), and was hugely influential in the adoption of the term.
The text of the poem can be found here. (It’s recommended that it be read aloud to get the full effect).

Miss Furr and Miss Skeene (1925) by Gertrude Stein, is a poem that tells “the Tale of Two Young Ladies Who Where Gay Together and of How One Left The Other Behind.”

Miss Furr and Miss Skeene was the first published use of the word “gay” to mean homosexual, (the word had a double meaning in the poem), and was hugely influential in the adoption of the term.

The text of the poem can be found here. (It’s recommended that it be read aloud to get the full effect).

16 8 / 2011

Brideshead Revisited (1945) by Evelyn Waugh, tells the story of Charles Ryder, a British army captain in WWII, looks back on his relationship with a wealthy Catholic family (living in Protestant England) that he knew as a young man in the 1920’s. He first meets the son, Sebastian Flyte, and is charmed by his flamboyance and eccentricity. Through the family Charles learns about love and religion.

Brideshead Revisited (1945) by Evelyn Waugh, tells the story of Charles Ryder, a British army captain in WWII, looks back on his relationship with a wealthy Catholic family (living in Protestant England) that he knew as a young man in the 1920’s. He first meets the son, Sebastian Flyte, and is charmed by his flamboyance and eccentricity. Through the family Charles learns about love and religion.

16 8 / 2011

Confusion of Feelings (1927) by Stefan Zweig, tells the story of a privy councillor who, in the autumn of his days, contemplates his past, looking back at the key moments in his life. He remembers sharing a lodging with a professor and his wife and a close friendship is formed. The professor, however harbours a dark secret which changes both men forever.

15 8 / 2011

Mrs. Dalloway (1925) by Virginia Woolf, takes place in a day of Clarissa Dalloway’s life, in which she plans and throws a party and reminisces on her life. She looks back on her three defining romances, one of whom is a woman, Sally Senton, with whom she shared a kiss that she described as “the happiest moment of her life.”
Amongst her party guests is Septimus Warren Smith, a WWI veteran who is consumed with the memory of his fallen fellow soldier, Evan, and and neglects his own wife.

Mrs. Dalloway (1925) by Virginia Woolf, takes place in a day of Clarissa Dalloway’s life, in which she plans and throws a party and reminisces on her life. She looks back on her three defining romances, one of whom is a woman, Sally Senton, with whom she shared a kiss that she described as “the happiest moment of her life.”

Amongst her party guests is Septimus Warren Smith, a WWI veteran who is consumed with the memory of his fallen fellow soldier, Evan, and and neglects his own wife.

14 8 / 2011

Orlando: A Biography (1928) by Virginia Woolf, a beautiful youth captured the attention of the elderly Queen Elizabeth I. He remains youthful for centuries, until one day he wakes up as a woman. Unconcerned, she continues life as a woman, finding love and living as both a man and a woman.

Orlando: A Biography (1928) by Virginia Woolf, a beautiful youth captured the attention of the elderly Queen Elizabeth I. He remains youthful for centuries, until one day he wakes up as a woman. Unconcerned, she continues life as a woman, finding love and living as both a man and a woman.