I've had the privilege of chairing several literary-discussion groups that dealt with "Dancer from the Dance," one with all gay men, another with gay men and lesbians, a third with straight women. Everybody liked the book, but it means different things to different people. For the generation of gay men born between about 1940 and 1955, it is the story of their life, the pain of coming out and the lyricism of finding that first love as an adult. For younger gay men and lesbians it is partly a period piece but the emotional impact still holds true, as it does for the straight readers. The novel about the misunderstood, middle-class gay boy who grows up absurd, sublimates himself in a career, and then comes out with a bang in his mid-twenties is a cliche among gay American fiction, but I can think of no books that do it as well as "Dancer from the Dance." To know this book is to love it.