Dancer from the Dance
June 14, 2019 11:32 AM - by Andrew Holleran - Subscribe

One of the most important works of gay literature, this haunting, brilliant novel is a seriocomic remembrance of things past -- and still poignantly present. It depicts the adventures of Malone, a beautiful young man searching for love amid New York's emerging gay scene. From Manhattan's Everard Baths and after-hours discos to Fire Island's deserted parks and lavish orgies, Malone looks high and low for meaningful companionship. The person he finds is Sutherland, a campy quintessential queen -- and one of the most memorable literary creations of contemporary fiction. Hilarious, witty, and ultimately heartbreaking, Dancer from the Dance is truthful, provocative, outrageous fiction told in a voice as close to laughter as to tears.
posted by kalimac (3 comments total)
I just re-read this for the first time in close to 20 years. Maybe because I'm old now, it seems more like a love letter to a very specific New York, than anything else. (Which, to be fair, is also pointed out in one of the letters that bookends the story.)
posted by kalimac at 11:33 AM on June 14, 2019

THANK you, I keep meaning to do exactly this. I first read it in college, for a class! I'll be back to this thread soon.
posted by wellred at 12:10 PM on June 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

What struck me most during my reread is that even in a pre-AIDS-era gay novel, none of them expected to grow old.

I wrote a paper on this book once, and I remember it was about the use of colour. The list of Malone's t-shirt colours stayed with me in the nearly two decades of interim. I think if I wrote it again, knowing the things I know now, I'd interweave the colours of objects Halloran uses into a study of the characters' attitudes toward race.
posted by wellred at 12:19 PM on June 20, 2019

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