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Gay Epic Novels

Any gay literature come to mind that feels epic to you? I haven't read anything in so long and for some reason feel like this is what I want.

Any ideas? I read most of Edmund White's,Ethan Mordden's and Armistead Maupin's works a long time ago. Anything similar to Maupin, I probably would not like. Too silly and far-fetched and not that funny to me at least.

by Anonymousreply 3609/23/2013


by Anonymousreply 109/07/2013

I think Hollinghurst can be pretty epic, especially The Line of Beauty.

by Anonymousreply 209/07/2013

As Meat Loves Salt

by Anonymousreply 309/07/2013

At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill


by Anonymousreply 409/07/2013

What do you mean by "epic," OP?

by Anonymousreply 509/07/2013

Do we like LIKE PEOPLE IN HISTORY? I read it as a lonely gay teen in the Midwest and loved it then. Wonder how it would hold up now that I'm a 30 something gay New Yorker.

One good thing about it, when I finally got to Fire Island, it looked exactly how I imagined it while reading his book.

by Anonymousreply 609/07/2013

Read it a few years ago, r6, specifically because of Edmund White's blurb calling it "the gay GONE WITH THE WIND" (and I love GONE WITH THE WIND).

Found it un-involving, boring, and extremely heavy-handed.

by Anonymousreply 709/07/2013

[5] I'm not that literate especially since the advent of the internet! By epic I mean a story that spans over a long period of time, that may have many inter-related characters. Probably more episodic in nature.

Would really love to find something that covers the lives of gay men throughout the 20th century in the US.

Does this make more sense?

by Anonymousreply 809/07/2013

Well, then maybe try LIKE PEOPLE IN HISTORY. it does cover the lives of two gay cousins from the 50s to the 90s I think, though its not without its problems (see r7)

by Anonymousreply 909/07/2013

Yes, I see what you mean now, OP/r8.

I'd recommend Felice Picano's LIKE PEOPLE IN HISTORY which r6 mentions. That's probably the closest to what you'd like.

by Anonymousreply 1009/07/2013

Picano is not a particularly good writer, Violet Quill aside--he has written too many pot-boilers along the way and they have made his attempts at serious art read like Michener (who can be fun, but no one would really put in the pantheon of great writers of historical fiction).

I don't think we have any gay American epics yet--though a great novel that spans pre-Stonewall through the AIDS epidemic and beyond would be exciting. Maybe Ross Matthews can write it.

by Anonymousreply 1109/07/2013

Oh, and another along the same lines you'd like, OP: How Long Has This Been Going On? by Ethan Mordden.

by Anonymousreply 1209/07/2013

Michael Cunningham's novels are pretty epic. And pretty contrived as well.

by Anonymousreply 1309/07/2013

When might we expect Larry Kramer's opus?

by Anonymousreply 1409/07/2013

The Golden Age of Promiscuity by Brad Gooch

by Anonymousreply 1509/07/2013

THE CATCH TRAP by Marion Zimmerman Bradley.

by Anonymousreply 1609/07/2013

OP here, Forgot to thank everyone in advance. I will research these titles and those yet to be posted.

by Anonymousreply 1709/07/2013

The City and The Pillar by Gore Vidal

by Anonymousreply 1809/07/2013

Andre Gide, "The Counterfeiters"

Mary Renault, "The Persian Boy"

"Creation" by Gore Vidal is perhaps more of an epic if less gay

by Anonymousreply 1909/07/2013

The Year of Ice by Brian Malloy Lust by Geoff Ryman

by Anonymousreply 2009/07/2013

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon is very good.

by Anonymousreply 2109/08/2013

I second the shouts for:

1)"At Swim, Two Boys"

First Love/Teenage Love/tragic Love

2) "The Persian Boy"

Wasn't "Alexander" heavily influenced by this novel? I remember Oliver Stone talking about the Persian Boy during the press tour of Alexander. Actually I always thought he wanted to make Alexander as close to the Persian Boy as possible. I just wonder why he never just went ahead and make this a movie. Of course, money wise it was impossible.

As Meat Loves Salt

Never got this story the first time a read it. I was like what? Sorry me so stupid. :o

Anyway OP, if you want Epic(apart from the above mentioned)

"The Charioteer"

A war love gay story with an actual happy ending. Is by the same author as The Persian Boy so you know it's a quality novel.

"While England Sleeps" (Davit Leavitt)

Another epic war gay love story.


Obviously the 1987 film with James Wilby and Rupert Graves could be used as a reference.

Has anyone read The Vintner's Luck? From what I read it's about an affair between a human and an Angel. Is it any good?

by Anonymousreply 2209/08/2013

I'm now reading How Long Has This Been Going On? by Ethan Mordden after reading about it in this thread. It's got a lot of characters whose lives may or may not intersect (I'm only up to p. 100 or so) over the course of time. It starts just after WWII, then jumps to the 1950s, then the 1960s, so it's very definitely got "epic" in mind.

Very highly recommended.

by Anonymousreply 2309/14/2013

Hollinghurst's "The Stranger's Child" is epic, in that it's British, covers a long period of time, and the deceased poet that threads through all the stories over the 20th century was (spoiler!) gay.

It's very subdued and erudite, as critics have called it.

by Anonymousreply 2409/14/2013

"The Villagers" by Edward Field

by Anonymousreply 2509/14/2013

That was a good one, R24. I'd love to see it done on Mahstahpiece.

by Anonymousreply 2609/14/2013

[quote]Hollinghurst's "The Stranger's Child" is epic, in that it's British,

"in that it's British"??? What?

I am baffled as to what some of you mean by "epic."

by Anonymousreply 2709/14/2013

[quote]I am baffled as to what some of you mean by "epic."

To me it signifies a work that takes place over a longer period of time than most books, and contains more than just a couple of main characters.

by Anonymousreply 2809/14/2013

Plays Well With Others by Allan Gurganus (who wrote Oldest Living Confederate Widow...) is a great read. It 'picks up' at the time that the narrator moves to New York, just as AIDS is beginning to make its presence felt. By turns funny and not, this novel tells the story of three artists (writer, composer, painter) struggling to make it in New York in the late 70s and early 80s. I've given it to a number of friends, all who had never heard of it, but thoroughly enjoyed it.

by Anonymousreply 2909/14/2013

Another vote for Plays Well with Others. R29

by Anonymousreply 3009/14/2013

"in that it's British"

Oh, you know; boarding school, Oxford, crumbling estates, the occasional world war...

by Anonymousreply 3109/14/2013

I just came across my copy of Mark Merlis' The Arrow's Flight, which is epic both in its theme and it the story that it tells. Also a very enjoyable read.

by Anonymousreply 3209/23/2013

I loved At Swim Two Boys and While England Sleeps

by Anonymousreply 3309/23/2013

The best one I've read has a really off-putting cover and topic... sad, because it's just an excellent book.

It's called "The Catch Trap" by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

It's a tear-jerker, rather epic in scope (follows a love affair across 40 or more years), and is just really well written.

by Anonymousreply 3409/23/2013


Trans-themed, but gay and lesbian characters as well; set over a long period of time, and won a Pulitzer.

by Anonymousreply 3509/23/2013

Valley of the Dolls

by Anonymousreply 3609/23/2013
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