This novel is a classic. Actually, when I first read it upon publication, the style kind of drove me nuts. But the honesty of the content is astonishing. Of course, Kramer didn't know it, but he was describing a way of life -- the late 70's New York gay party scene -- that was about to vanish into history as a result of the onslaught of AIDS.
Kramer caught considerable flak at the time from other gays who felt he was telling too much, exposing sexual excesses that enemies of gays could use. Only one problem: the lifestyle he was documenting existed, and his take on it was accurate and true.
The novel now stands as a cultural artifact as much as work of fiction. After decades of repression, the gay excesses of the seventies were perhaps inevitable and certainly understandable. But the side-effects of sex as a drug, sex as everything, were not always pretty, and Kramer doesn't flinch from the emotional damage.
It would be nice to think that time has vindicated him, which to my mind it has. But the matter of gay sexuality will probably always remain controversial -- among gays themselves, let alone straights. Kramer's novel stands as a brave and honest record of a brief time when sex (gay or otherwise) seemed to be without consequences.
I put off reading this book for a long time and was looking forward to reading it this summer. Even though Larry Kramer can be called a prophet with his lacerating vision of what happened when gay liberation came along at a time when America was on a sexual expedition (and unaware of the awful plague that was coming down the pipeline), the novel gets weighed down with too much repetition and not enough objectivity. Not even halfway through the book, I got tired of reading exploit after exploit without any narrative balance. I'm sure it's accurate in its depiction of the era, but I would've liked one narrator to step in and throw some kerosene into the mix. After a while, the satire becomes bland and you could care less about any of the men. Still, it's frightening to see how little some things have changed.
Larry Kramer has never been able to forgive the cosmos for the fact that he is neither handsome nor endowed with the physique of a god, and this juvenile obsession crops up in and flaws almost everything he writes. Faggots is no exception. This satire runs afoul of Kramer's personal problem and sputters out in boring waspiness. A tiresome book.