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The Gay Gatsby,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Dancer from the Dance: A Novel (Plume Contemporary Fiction) (Taschenbuch)
It seems kind of silly to try to measure, as if it were a science, the precise extent to which a work is a "classic," as many have done here. This is especially true when the work in question is only some 20 years old and the culture producing its critics is both notoriously bitchy and given to dissent. Having said that, far be it from me to hold myself aloof from the fray. Because for all the debate and qualification and feelings of guilt by association this novel seems sometimes to provoke in its readers, it's a classic. There, I've said it--the "c" word. If this book is not in print fifty years from now, we'll have lost what is for late 20th century American gay culture a canonical novel that is, in its own way, every bit as evocative and compelling as the works of Fitzgerald and Hemingway. (The comparison to Fitzgerald is in fact an apt one: this novel resonates with subtle references and allusions to The Great Gatsby--which, fifty years earlier, also documented great big parties frequented by plenty of lost souls on Long Island Sound. I think Holleran very much had Gatsby on his mind when he wrote this novel, and, to his great credit, this story warrants and benefits from the comparison.)
Dancer captures a time and a place and a mood, and it does so with poetry and while telling a hell of a funny, debauched, and crushingly sad, story. Malone and Sutherland are both archetypes and real people, they are Huck and Jim in gay Manhattan, and we care deeply about them. We look forward to seeing what Sutherland will have to say next and to finding out how the beautiful and damned Malone--that über circuit queen--can screw up his life any further. Holleran's Malone and Sutherland are misguided, exaggerated and decadent, and frequently horrible moral role models. And they are all too human.
Let me say this: I personally stopped all of my circuit-like behavior two years ago. I'm 37 and, as many of us know, that's ancient for a gay man. It was unseemly to keep doing what I was doing--something that Sutherland would have understood, even if he wouldn't necessarily have let his age stop him. Dancer from the Dance helped me put closure on that period of my life, my youth, and to do so with grace and a wistful smile and, yes, profound sadness. I don't have the option of getting lost in Long Island Sound. Instead, I did what Nick did at the end of Gatsby: I returned to my Midwestern roots. Knowing that Sutherland and Malone managed to escape that retreat somehow makes my own plight seem less mundane. Dancer From the Dance is a great book with all the hallmarks of a lasting work of literature--and time will have to prove me right on that.