Can anyone help me discover some great novels with gay content from the start of this century on? I'm thinking of novels along the lines of E.M. Forster's "Maurice", Tom Spanbauer's "The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon", and Colm Toibin's "Story of the Night". Any genre is fine (science fiction, realistic, fantasy, mystery, etc.), as long as the novel has some literary merit. Thanks!
"At Swim, Two Boys" by Jamie O'Neill
The Art of Fielding.
Chris Delyani, The Love Thing and You Are Here. I enjoyed them both.
That's the Chad Harbach novel, right, R2?
The Weekend by Peter Cameron
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron
We The Animals by Justin Torres
In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut
Michael Cunningham, A Home at The End of the World
Caleb Crain's new novel has gotten good notices.
Just about anything by Alan Hollinghurst and, as you note, Colman Toibin
R6, the Cunningham novel is from 1990.
Mother of Sorrows by Richard McCann
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
Grief by Andrew Holleran
"At Swim, Two Boys" was excellent, but it was a difficult read. I felt the same way about "The Line of Beauty" by Alan Hollingshurst. "Sprout" by Dale Peck was one gay book that I would love to see made into a movie. K. M. Soehnlein's "The World of Normal Boys" was one book I wish was around when I was a teen. "Drama Queers" by Frank Polito was laugh out load funny. The superhero book, "Hero" by Perry Moore was also very good.
Purgatory by Jeff Mann is an explicit S&M novel set during the Civil War, but it's also quite brilliantly written -- the author is also a poet, so the prose here is exceptional, he captures the era marvelously and the lead characters make for a couple you really root for. I've never been into S&M and bought it only because of the Civil War setting (not knowing about the bondage and whippings), and was shocked at how good it was, I couldn't put it down.
Mitch Cullin's "The Cosmology of Bing"  fits the bill, OP. Oh, and both Christopher Bram's "Lives of the Circus Animals"  and Ben Sáenz's "Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club" .
Wow, thanks for all these suggestions! I'm jotting several of them down... Any others?
There is a broad range of such novels, and it depends where your preference is.
I tend to read lots of novels, since I review gay (and lesbian) books for a local gay biweekly magazine. One trend I have noticed is that a lot of really BAD novels get published in e-book format (but not available in print) since the cost/risk of putting it out on e-book is practically nothing, as opposed to actually funding a print run on paper. Therefore, if you see a book is only available for e-reader, and not in print, be suspicious that it may not be very good.
Far and above, my favorite fiction author out there is Alan Chin, who has written eight excellent, diverse novels, which you can see at the link below. His "Matchmaker" ... about a professional tennis player coming out as gay ... is likely my favorite novel of the past 20 years, although several of his other books are in my top 10 or 20 for that period. His most recent, "The Plain of Bitter Honey", is a futuristic sci-fi story about an earth that is taken over by religious zealots, and is scary on many levels. All of his books are very well written, and include characters you really want to care about. (And, no, I am not affiliated with Mr. Chin in any way. Simply love his books.)
Great thread OP!
I know you said 2000 and beyond, but 1993's THE DREYFUSS AFFAIR about a closeted baseball player is a terrific read - and 20 years later there is still no "out" baseball player.
At Swim, Two Boys
The Line of Beauty
The Swimming-Pool Library
The Folding Star
There are none better!
I agree with R15.
If you haven't read Alan Hollinghurst, you're missing out on one of the greats. Haunting, memorable work.
Another vote for Hollinghurst. Not just one of the best living gay writers, but one of the best living writers, period.
Also recommend The Absolutist by John Boyne. Set in WWI, it's beautiful and very sad.
Julia Glass's National Book Award winning "Three Junes" is one of the best novels I've read in years.
One of the main characters is a gay man who (along with his life among other gay men in New York) is as interestingly and convincingly realized by a straight female author as it could be if she were a gay male author. Not to mention that though he and his family are Scottish, their stories are beautifully handled by Glass, who is American.
Fellow Travelers by Thomas Mallon
[quote]Also recommend The Absolutist by John Boyne. Set in WWI, it's beautiful and very sad.
Seconded here. Excellent novel.
Link is to a spam-free Yahoo group that reviews current gay releases, in which I participate. Going to the "Messages" tab, you can actually search for titles and authors.
God, I hated Fellow Travelers. Thomas Mallon is just not a good writer.
I used to read novels almost exclusively. About 15 years ago or so, something changed and now I have a difficult time even getting through a novel, no matter how well written.
I read only non-fiction now (well, there has been one exception). I love history and memoirs (if the writer has something to say), especially enjoy biographies and/or memoirs of writers. Some of these are gay/lesbian, some not. As my mother lost almost her entire family in the Holocaust, I read a LOT of history surrounding that subject.
The only fiction I have read in the past three years was "The Passage" by Justin Cronin, which I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed. I literally could not put it down.
"Like Son" - Felicia Luna Lemus.
"First You Fall" - Scott Sherman.
Also, if you like mysteries there is a series featuring Oscar Wilde by Gyles Brandreth.
[quote]"First You Fall" - Scott Sherman.
Good choice. And that is #1 in a series (three, so far) of gay mystery novels by the author, which feature Kevin Connor, a twinkish Manhattan call-boy, who gets involved in solving murders. Well written, and has a nice sense of humor as well.
Another similar series I recommend is the "Beach Reading" series by Mark Abramson, which is up to more than a half dozen books in the series, all featuring a Castro-area waiter who has psychic powers, which seem to get him involved in solving many crimes.
On either of those series, I recommend that you start with the first book ("First You Fall" and "Beach Reading" respectively), for the best exposure to the characters possible. However, this isn't an absolute must, as each book stands on its own, with enough background info given by the authors to allow full enjoyment of the book.
Is there gay content in Justin Cronin's "The Passage", R22?
See, I didn't like Beach Reading. Not sure why...maybe the characters weren't well drawn out and his "psychic powers" just were mentioned...never utilized. Maybe the future books get better?
Anything by Christopher Rice .....
[quote]See, I didn't like Beach Reading. Not sure why...maybe the characters weren't well drawn out and his "psychic powers" just were mentioned...never utilized. Maybe the future books get better?
The characters were more developed in future installments, especially the aunt and the older drag queen who owns the restaurant. And the main characters is the one who downplays his psychic powers, as he really wants no part of them, although he does learn to channel them to help people he knows in future books in the series.
But to be honest, the series can be a little uneven, and I've told the author that. Said I'm not the only one who has so commented. Still, I'd suggest you try book 2 or 3 in the series, before dismissing it completely.
What defines a "gay novel?"
At least for me, R29, novels with gay protagonists and/or major gay plot points.
Does the author have to be gay?
The God in Flight
Who's the author, R33?
R34, the author is Laura Argiri, sorry I didn't include that in my original post.
Please don't count out The Dreyfuss Affair because it's pre-2000. It is brilliant and hilarious as are all of Peter Lefcourt's novels.
Thomas Mallon is difficult. His novels are all rooted in specific historical periods and if you are ignorant of the political vents of those times, the plots can be trying. I felt I would have enjoyed Fellow Travelers much more if I knew more about McCarythism and the major players involved.
I also second Christopher Bram. His novels are smart and entertaining. Of course, he's most well known for Father of Frankenstein, which became the film Gods and Monsters. How he must regret they changed his title!
[quote]What defines a "gay novel?"
Not at all a silly question, since I have seen people interpret it different ways.
No, the author doesn't have to be gay (and, if he is, it is not necessarily a gay novel).
I'll go further than that: if the book has one, or two, or any fixed number of gay characters, it is still not necessarily a gay novel. Unless those characters are openly gay and an integral part of the story - OR - the fact of the person's sexuality is material to what happens in the story, I personally don't consider it a "gay book."
I've actually been sent books by authors who were clearly interested in getting gay people to buy their book, and thought we'd be thrilled that there is ONE character who is PROBABLY gay included as a character who really has no bearing on the story. Uh, no.
Some had the nerve to say things like "Well, true there are no gay characters, but the main characters own a flower shop (or are hair stylists, or like to ice skate), so that should make it interesting to gay people." Clueless.
Truth be told, IMO, I prefer that the characters in a gay novel not ALL be gay, but include at least some straight people, allies or not. It's the world we live in ... unless of course you live and spend every waking moment in Weho or the Castro. :)
That question was answered in just two sentences upthread, R37.
People can have different opinions about the answer, R38
It was condensable to the same two-sentence opinion as earlier, Putin Lover.
R39 really is supporting Putin and homophobia in other threads all over the DL. Confine your BS to those threads, please.
What I have done is say that I don't think Olympic athletes are obliged to violate Olympic rules and be ejected from the games, sacrificing their life's work and ambition, in order to protest Russian laws. This moron says that means I am a homophobe and a Putin lover. As you can see he is now stalking me. You decide who is full of shit.
Just let it go, dear. Only Republicans agree with you.