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Mar 31 2014
Cover To Cover: First & Last Sentences Of Gay Novels & Novellas Comments (0)

Nocturnes-for-the-King-of-NaplesCover by Mel Odom.

What's a “gay book,” anyway?

Is it a book with a gay theme? One with no gay theme but whose author is gay? One specifically about being gay, written by a gay author? Must it be pro-gay, or can it be anti-? Does it count if it's exploitative and prurient?

Faggots-KramerRegardless of your definition, the heyday of the gay novel is behind us. Yes, there are still books by, for, and about gay people, but it's not like in the '70s and '80s, when gay novels took off, or the early '90s, when they'd become a bona fide boom business.

Not long after, they went bust, and the days when you might read a review calling a work of fiction, “The best gay novel of the year!” went with them. As did gay bookstores...when was the last time you were inside a gay bookstore? Were there any woolly mammoth footprints pressed into the clay?

City-and-the-pillar-gore-vidalGore, Gore, do you like it, how do you like it?

Part of the reason a booming literary niche was decimated is good—we became less concerned with obsessing over our place in the world as the world became less convinced we were aliens and/or carriers of disease and/or agents of Satan. (Not that a huge chunk of the world doesn't still ponder those questions.) As we have been assimilated, we've become less excited by existentialist literary endeavors and more likely to spring for, say, books about the first time various anonymous narrators had gay sex, or coffee-table books of nude men or books with no discernible gay sensibility at all.

Interview-with-the-VampireBut I miss the days when the gay novel was a big deal. I miss being in my college bookstore and grabbing an Edmund White tome and flipping it to a passage where two farmboys “cornhole” each other, and realizing that it wasn't pornography, but rather was frank, familiar, terrifyingly emotional art.

For fun, I'm including a collection of the first and last sentences of as many gay novels as I could readily lay my hands on. I'm sticking with the books' proper first and last sentences, so am leaving out things like dates and places (“New York, 1983") in the case of books that begin or end with letters, and I'm also ignoring the “hmmm”-inspiring epigraphs that so often appear at the beginning of a novel.

Giovannis_room-frontThese are not meant to be my choices for "the best gay books." But most of my favorite gay novels are included and you will undoubtedly have read and loved many of them. many have you read?

If these tantalizingly brief samples don't make you curious to read some of these books, nothing will.

I would absolutely love to receive your contributions (title, year, author, first line, last line) so I can make this a living post...



Faggots (1978)

by Larry Kramer

First_last_ecard-1“There are 2,556,596 faggots in the New York City area.”

First_last_ecard“Happy Birthday Me.”



Dancer from the Dance (1978)

by Andrew Holleran

First_last_ecard-1“Ecstasy, It's finally spring down here on the Chattahoochee—the azaleas are in bloom, and everyone is dying of cancer.”

First_last_ecard“Go out dancing tonight, my dear, and go home with someone, and if the love doesn't last beyond the morning, then know I love you.”



Giovanni's Room (1956)

by James Baldwin

First_last_ecard-1“I stand at the window of this great house in the south of France as night falls, the night which is leading me to the most terrible morning of my life.”

First_last_ecard“Yet as I turn and begin walking toward the waiting people, the wind blows some of them back on me.”



Querelle of Brest (1947)

by Anonymous (Jean Genet)

First_last_ecard-1“The notion of murder often brings to mind the notion of sea and sailors.”

First_last_ecard“She was alone.”



Mysterious Skin (1995)

by Scott Heim

First_last_ecard-1“The summer I was eight years old, five hours disappeared from my life.”

First_last_ecard“But it wasn't, and we weren't.”



The City and the Pillar (1948)

by Gore Vidal

First_last_ecard-1“The moment was strange.”

First_last_ecard“Soon he would move on.”



Boy Culture (1995)

by Matthew Rettenmund

First_last_ecard-1“Why are gay guys obsessed with storytelling?”

First_last_ecard“Now if you'll excuse me, my pediatrician is big on punctuality.”



Tales of the City (1978)

by Armistead Maupin

First_last_ecard-1“Mary Ann Singleton was twenty-five years old when she saw San Francisco for the first time.”

First_last_ecard“It's Colombian.”



Surprising Myself (1987)

by Christopher Bram

First_last_ecard-1“Moths thumped the screens of the dining hall.”

First_last_ecard“We weren't finished yet.”



A Boy's Own Story (1982)

by Edmund White

First_last_ecard-1“We're going for a midnight boat ride.”

First_last_ecard“I wiped my mouth with the back of an adult hand, smiled and walked up to the dining hall humming a little tune.”



The Confessions of Danny Slocum (1980)

by George Whitmore

First_last_ecard-1“It happened again tonight.”

First_last_ecard“We both know it.”



The Front Runner (1974)

Patricia Nell Warren

First_last_ecard-1“I can be precise about the day it began.”

First_last_ecard“He knows that it is going to take everything he has to stay up in front, to run free.”



The Men from the Boys (1997)

by William Mann

First_last_ecard-1“'Going tricking?' Javitz asked earlier tonight, in that voice that knows the answers to its own questions.”

First_last_ecard“We sit there, the three of us, and look out over the waves.”



The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket (1989)

by John Weir

First_last_ecard-1“Eddie Socket had his mother's sharp, slightly prominent Anglican nose, and his father's deep-set, sentimental blue eyes and pale Irish complexion—standard white American features, neatly arranged but lacking authority, he felt, because of his chin.”

First_last_ecard“Even losing Merrit, I think, is easy enough, if only I put him in his place in the room, among the fixtures of a life that I no longer lead, there at the table, preserved, wearing a sweater that doesn't belong, nursing a tooth, and drinking heated milk.”



City of Night (1963)

by John Rechy

First_last_ecard-1“Later I would think of America as one vast City of Night stretching gaudily from Times Square to Hollywood Boulevard-jukebox-winking, rock-n-roll moaning: America at night fusing its dark cities into the unmistakable shape of loneliness.”

First_last_ecard“Why can't dogs go to heaven?”



More Tales of the City (1980)

by Armistead Maupin

First_last_ecard-1“The valentine was a handmade pastiche of Victorian cherubs, pressed flowers and red glitter.”

First_last_ecard“'After all, my dear, tomorrow is another day!'”



Maurice (1913/1971)

by E.M. Forster

First_last_ecard-1“Once a term the whole school went for a walk—that is to say the three masters took part as well as all the boys.”

First_last_ecard“He waited for a little in the alley, then returned to the house, to correct his proofs and to devise some method of concealing the truth from Anne.”



The Lost Language of Cranes (1986)

by David Leavitt

First_last_ecard-1“Early on a rainy Sunday afternoon in November a man was hurrying down Third Avenue, past closed and barred florist shops and newsstands, his hands stuffed in his pockets and his head bent against the wind.”

First_last_ecard“He would lie awake for a long time, looking at Owen's white ankles in the bright moonlight.”



Queer Hustler (1965)

by Joe Caruso

First_last_ecard-1“Kenny had an ace in the hole.”

First_last_ecard“And, with a terrific blast, he ended the set, then moved through the crowd to the bar while the people applauded gratefully.”



Further Tales of the City (1982)

by Armistead Maupin

First_last_ecard-1“There were outlanders, of course, who continued to insist that San Francisco was a city without seasons, but Mrs. Madrigal paid no heed to them.”




The Swimming-Pool Library (1988)

by Alan Hollinghurst

First_last_ecard-1“I came home on the last train.”

First_last_ecard“And going into the showers I saw a suntanned young lad in pale blue trunks that I rather liked the look of.”



The Persian Boy (1972)

by Mary Renault

First_last_ecard-1“Lest anyone should suppose I am the son of nobody, sold off by some peasant father in a drought year, I may say our line is an old one, though it ends with me.”

First_last_ecard“I lit the night lamp and set it by the bed, and watched with him, till at morning the embalmers came to take him from me, and fill him with the everlasting myrrh.”



Babycakes (1984)

by Armistead Maupin

First_last_ecard-1“She was fifty-seven years old when she saw San Francisco for the first time.”

First_last_ecard“'Thank you, Miss Treves.'”



The Boys on the Rock (1984)

by John Fox

First_last_ecard-1“One of Tommy's legs is shorter than the other and thin as a rail.”

First_last_ecard“Clouds are sailing in an arc down the sky and up the shore a trawler is headed north, toward the mouth of the Hudson, I guess, to Manhattan maybe.”



Harlan's Race (1994)

by Patricia Nell Warren

First_last_ecard-1“In the summer of 1990, when I was 55, with so many things coming full circle for me, I went back to New York for the first time in many years.”

First_last_ecard“Like them, we belong to a certain sky, that is ever our refuge and our home.”



Like People in History (1995)

by Felice Picano

First_last_ecard-1 “'Are you sure?'”

First_last_ecard “I stood in the freezing darkness and desolation, and that radiator chugged and rattled and spouted, and its whistle hissed out steam so noisily and with such intensity of purpose that I slowly—amazing myself—became certain it really DID have a purpose: to carry on as long as it had the power to do so, and while it remained active, to do what it did best—even if that meant attempting to warm up the entire immense, vitrescent, frigid, indifferent night.”



Band Fags! (2008)

by Frank Anthony Polito

First_last_ecard-1“'Friends hold you back.'”

First_last_ecard“I don't believe her.”



The Farewell Symphony (1997)

by Edmund White

First_last_ecard-1I'm beginning this book on All Saints' Day in Paris six months after Brice's death.

First_last_ecardJoshua's spirit was no more in these things than was our virus; his spirit was lodged in Eddie's pages, in his own, even, I hoped, in mine.



Metes and Bounds (2001)

by Jay Quinn

First_last_ecard-1“Me and Tiger had a difference of opinion.”

First_last_ecard“I really wanted true north to be as constant as Tiger taught me.”



Significant Others (1987)

by Armistead Maupin

First_last_ecard-1“Brian's internal clock always woke him at four fifty-six, giving him four whole minutes to luxuriate in the naked human body next to him.”

First_last_ecard“The effect was too perfect to spoil, so she slipped under the sheets without a word and sat there remembering, waiting for the tango to end.”



Franny, the Queen of Provincetown (1983)

by John Preston

First_last_ecard-1“Jesus, Mary and Joseph!”

First_last_ecardBut that, too, is only something to be expected of a wise, compassionate queen.



Martin and John (1993)

by Dale Peck

First_last_ecard-1“'Here is this baby, crying in my arms, and don't he know just when to stop?'”

First_last_ecard“It's something, but it's not that.”



"Call Me By Your Name" (2008)

by André Aciman


First_last_ecard“If you remember everything, I wanted to say, and if you are really like me, then before you leave tomorrow, or when you're just ready to shut the door of the taxi and have already said goodbye to everyone else and there's not a thing to say left in this life, then, just this once, turn to me, even in jest, or as an afterthought, which would have meant everything to me when we were together, and, just as you did back then, look me in the face, hold my gaze, and call me by your name.



The Beautiful Room Is Empty (1988)

by Edmund White

First_last_ecard-1“I met Maria during my next-to-last year in prep school.”

First_last_ecard“But we couldn't find a single mention in the press of the turning point of our lives.”



Does Freddy Dance (1995)

by Dick Scanlan

First_last_ecard-1“Everyone was going to New York City except my mother and me.”

First_last_ecard“I grabbed Alex's broad shoulders and wrapped his arms around me, smelling his warm morning smell and looking beyond him, through the large window, at Anne Frank's view of the world: a chestnut tree; past that, a church tower; past that, the sky.”


Two boys

At Swim, Two Boys (2003)

by Jamie O'Neill

First_last_ecard-1“There goes Mr. Mack, cock of the town.”

First_last_ecard“'What cheer, eh?' he called.”



Cry to Heaven (1982)

by Anne Rice

First_last_ecard-1“Guido Maffeo was castrated when he was six years old and sent to study with the finest singing masters in Naples.”

First_last_ecard“And for the first time they would truly be together.”



The God in Flight (1994)

by Laura Argiri

First_last_ecard-1“This story should begin in some sharp, visually violent way, like the crack of a brutal hand across a face, but does not.”

First_last_ecard“Rather, the story comes out of the mist, where barely a moment of it has been lost, and every single detail and secret will be told to someone who will receive it as carefully as a handful of the most inestimable gems or the purest water.”



Myra Breckinridge (1968)

by Gore Vidal

First_last_ecard-1“I am Myra Breckinridge whom no man will ever possess.”

First_last_ecard“I think that is a very fine statement and one which, all in all, I'm ready to buy, since it is a proven fact that happiness, like the proverbial bluebird, is to be found in your own backyard if you just know where to look.”



The Hours (1998)

by Michael Cunningham

First_last_ecard-1“She hurries from the house, wearing a coat too heavy for the weather.”

First_last_ecard“Everything's ready.”



The Dreyfus Affair: A Love Story (1992)

by Peter Lefcourt

First_last_ecard-1“It was bad enough going 0-for-5 and committing a dumb-ass error that led to two unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth that beat you.”

First_last_ecard“Then he'd come back out and fix it again.”



A Single Man (1964)

by Christopher Isherwood

First_last_ecard-1“Waking up begins with saying am and now.”

First_last_ecard“Both will have to be carted away and disposed of, before too long.”



Dhalgren (1975)

by Samuel R. Delany

First_last_ecard-1“to wound the autumnal city.”

First_last_ecard“Waiting here away from the terrifying weaponry, out of the halls of vapor and light, beyond holland and into the hills I have come to.”



Pizza Face or, The Hero of Suburbia (1991)

by Ken Siman

First_last_ecard-1“Andy was always looking for the right candidate.”

First_last_ecard“Maybe he would let him in.”



A Visit to Priapus (1938/2013)

by Glenway Wescott

First_last_ecard-1“Occasionally last winter Allen Porter would mention a young man of sonorous name and address, Mr. Jaris Hawthorn of Clamariscassett, Maine, who as a lover had briefly amused but not satisfied him at all, and who thereafter bored him as a friend.”

First_last_ecard“And readiness to die is equivalent to courage: therefore I did not mind how foolishly the bus driver flirted, how damnably he drove, all the way to Sorrento.”



Rent Boy (1994)

by Gary Indiana

First_last_ecard-1“Saturday night.”

First_last_ecard“I live where nothing has a name, and the rest is silence.”



Boy Meets Boy (2003)

by David Levithan

First_last_ecard-1“9 p.m. on a November Saturday.

First_last_ecard“And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.”



The Beauty of Men (1996)

by Andrew Holleran

First_last_ecard-1“The boat ramp looks quite different depending on the time you go there—night or day—but because it's just a sandy clearing in the woods, it's always clean and beautiful; and because the lake it serves is in a remote part of Florida, far from both coasts, the place is seldom very crowded.”

First_last_ecard“A week later Lark has his car windows tinted, and goes to the boat ramp, and sits there in his car till dark, without once getting out; while other people wonder who it is and finally drive off, tired of waiting.”



The Line of Beauty (2004)

by Alan Hollinghurst

First_last_ecard-1“Peter Crowther's book on the election was already in the shops.”

First_last_ecard“It wasn't just this street corner but the fact of a street corner at all that seemed, in the light of the moment, so beautiful.”



Flesh and Blood (1995)

by Michael Cunningham

First_last_ecard-1“Constantine, eight years old, was working in his father's garden and thinking about his own garden, a square of powdered granite he had staked out and combed into rows at the top of his family's land.”

First_last_ecard“I can hear them.”



The Lord Won't Mind (1970)

by Gordon Merrick

First_last_ecard-1“'He's coming in a week,' C.B. said, laying the letter down beside her breakfast coffee.”

First_last_ecard“I can't do better than this.”


Perry Brass

King of Angels (2012)

by Perry Brass

First_last_ecard-1“It's only right that I should tell you about my beginnings.”

First_last_ecard“It is that all you have is what you are.”



Boys of Life (1992)

by Paul Russell

First_last_ecard-1“The first time I met Carlos Reichart I was standing in the Nu-Way Laundromat folding up a bed sheet, which is probably a strange way to meet the one person who's going to ruin your life.”

First_last_ecard“It's the way I've always left.”



Auntie Mame (1955)

by Patrick Dennis

First_last_ecard-1“It has rained all day.”

First_last_ecard“Holding Mike's hand, Auntie Mame drifted into the crowd, her sari floating out behind her.”



Two Boys Kissing (2013)

by David Levithan

First_last_ecard-1“You can't know what it is like for us now—you will always be one step behind.”

First_last_ecard“Make more than dust.”



Billy Budd, Sailor: (An Inside Narrive) (1888/1924)

by Herman Melville

First_last_ecard-1“In the time before steamships, or then more frequently than now, a stroller along the docks of any considerable seaport woudl occasionally have his attention arrested by a group of bronzed mariners, man-of-war's men or merchant-sailors in holiday attire ashore on liberty.”

First_last_ecard“I am sleepy, and the oozy weeds about me twist.”



Father of Frankenstein (1995)

by Christopher Bram


First_last_ecard“Only the yardman lingered to watch the masons cement a marble square over the little urn, then caught up with the housekeeper under the trees and awkwardly offered hs arm to escort her out.”



Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll (1978)

by Paul Monette

First_last_ecard-1“When Mrs. Carroll died, at seven-thirty, my friend David was lying naked in the tower bedroom, watching the gardener put on his shirt.”

First_last_ecard“'Fabulous,' she said.”



Eighty-Sixed (1989)

by David B. Feinberg

First_last_ecard-1“The priest rarely masturbated during confession.”

First_last_ecard“And there is no likelihood of its ever ending.”



Nights in Aruba (1983)

by Andrew Holleran

First_last_ecard-1“When I first lived in New York my object was to sleep through Sundays in winter—there was nothing to do with them anyway, so we stayed out Saturday night dancing.”

First_last_ecard“For I realized that so much memory and desire swirl aboutin the hearts of men on this planet that, just as we can look at Neptune and say it is covered with liquid nitrogen, or Venus and see a mantle of hydrochloric acid, so it seemed to me that were one to look at Earth from afar one would say it is covered completely in Ignorance.”



Quatrefoil (1950)

by James Barr

First_last_ecard-1“There was fog at midnight, as gray as storm-shadowed ocean, as cold as salt spray exploding across a derelict's bow.”

First_last_ecard“Phillip put his clothes on again and slowly climbed the hill.”



The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988)

by Michael Chabon

First_last_ecard-1At the beginning of summer I had lunch with my father, the gangster, who was in town for the weekend to transact some of his vague business.

First_last_ecardNo doubt all of this is not true remembrance but the ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything.





B-Boy Blues (1994)


by James Earl Hardy


First_last_ecard-1 “What's love got to do with it?”


First_last_ecard “Smack.”




While England Sleeps (1993)

by David Leavitt

First_last_ecard-1“In the early 1950s, history and politics conspired to create a circumstance in which it was impossible for me to ply my chosen trade—namely, writing.”

First_last_ecard“Droplets like mercury, heavy with light.”



The Alienist (1994)

by Caleb Carr

First_last_ecard-1“Theodore is in the ground.” 

First_last_ecard“The structure didn't look like much, all laid open to view that way; it was hard to believe that it had ever been strong enough to withstand the fantastic pressure exerted by millions of gallons of water.”



The Night Listener (2000)

by Armistead Maupin

First_last_ecard-1“I know how it sounds when I call him my son.” 

First_last_ecard“That's not the way it is...”



The Married Man (2000)

by Edmund White

First_last_ecard-1“Austin was twenty years older than everyone else in the gym—and the only American.

First_last_ecard“Here was this big blond giant, his face blotched and red, spreading the splendor of his hair across Austin's shoulder, his huge hand with his sportsman's calluses pressed to Austin's chest in the dark as the other passengers watched the movie or slept.”



Walking Marina (2011)

by D.R. Hildebrand

First_last_ecard-1“It was midnight in late spring in a condominum on Central Park.”

First_last_ecard“And the boy, red-eyed, unkempt, clutching a brand new portfolio, sat quietly in the corner of a casting—waiting, watching, thinking about things few would ever imagine, before bringing his envelope to the bank.”



Billy's Boy (1997)

by Patricia Nell Warren

First_last_ecard-1“The U.S.S. Memo was special, because they built her out of the rarest, safest metal in the universe.”

First_last_ecard“Maybe that's what Wisdom is...knowing what new star to hunt, no matter where I have to voyage inside myself to find it.”



The Staff (1969)

by Patrick Doyle

First_last_ecard-1“Christopher Mallory sat at his desk, gazing with dismay at the mass of paper work that had to be waded through before he could get down to the real essentials of his job.”

First_last_ecard“'California, here we come, the two of us.'”


The P-Town Murders

The P-Town Murders (2008)

by Jeffrey Round

First_last_ecard-1“In a place that's 'to die for,' no one expects to die for real.”

First_last_ecard“Just one.”



In Awe (1998)

by Scott Heim

First_last_ecard-1“Darkness waits for them.”

First_last_ecard“They can almost hear it, thudding.”



The Charioteer (1953)

by Mary Renault

First_last_ecard-1“It was the first time he had ever heard the clock strike ten at night.

First_last_ecard“Now their heads droop side by side till their long manes mingle; and when the voice of the charioteer falls silent they reconciled for a night in sleep.”



Young Digby Swank (2014)

by Owen Keehnen

First_last_ecard-1“Digby's parents were typical Catholics with typical Catholic shortcomings.”

First_last_ecard“He'd soon discover there was much more to learn.”



Myron (1974)

by Gore Vidal

First_last_ecard-1“I don't know where I am but wherever it is that I am I have to get out of here pronto!”

First_last_ecard“!sevil aryM”



Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941)

by Carson McCullers

First_last_ecard-1“An army post in peacetime is a dull place.”

First_last_ecard“His grave face was unchanged, and his sun-browned hands lay palms upward on the carpet as though in sleep.”



The Notorious Dr. August: His Real Life and Crimes (2000)

by Christopher Bram

First_last_ecard-1“Life is eternal, but lives are short.”

First_last_ecard“And again.”



The German (2011)

by Lee Thomas

First_last_ecard-1“I remember a hole, deep and dark, with water pooling at the bottom like blood in an open wound.”

First_last_ecard“Wherever you are, live and rest in peace.”



Cruising (1970)

by Gerald Walker

First_last_ecard-1“'Too fast for you, love?'”

First_last_ecard“But who cares what I think anymore?”



The Story of the Night (1996)

by Colm Tóibín

First_last_ecard-1“During her last year my mother grew obsessive about the emblems of empire: the Union Jack, the Tower of London, the Queen and Mrs. Thatcher.”

First_last_ecard“He asked me to wake him in an hour or two if he was still asleep.”



Women in Love (1920)

by D.H. Lawrence

First_last_ecard-1“Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen sat one morning in the window bay of their father's house in Beldover, working and talking.”

First_last_ecard“'I don't believe that,' he answered.”



The Good Neighbor (2006)

by Jay Quinn

First_last_ecard-1“A great poet once wrote that good fences make good neighbors.”

First_last_ecard“The best of neighbors, like the best of lovers and friends, always know when to simply say goodbye and walk away.”



A Density of Souls (2000)

by Christopher Rice

First_last_ecard-1“Beneath a sky thickening with summer thunderheads, they rode their bikes to Lafayette Cemetery, where the dead are buried above ground.”

First_last_ecard“In Stephen's dreams, Meredith sat beneath a star-studded sky free of clouds, her legs tucked to her chest, gazing out at open ocean but hearing the resonant fall of remembered rain.”



How Long Has This Been Going On? (1995)

by Ethan Mordden

First_last_ecard-1In the days when men were men and women adored them, there was a club called Thriller Jill's on a side street off Hollywood Boulevard.

First_last_ecard“And then we can go home.”



The Folding Star (1994)

by Alan Hollinghurst

First_last_ecard-1“A man was waiting already on the narrow island of the tram-stop, and I asked him falteringly about the routes.”

First_last_ecard“A few late walkers passed us, and saw me vigilant in my huge unhappy overcoat; they didn't know if it was the charts of tides and sunsets I was studying, or the named photos of the disappeared.”



Zombie00 (2000)

by Brad Gooch

First_last_ecard-1“It all started at the Everhart Museum.”

First_last_ecard“By then I was always whimpering so hard that there was only softness left and the sense that I'd been coming from a strange place for a strange amount of time and that what was left was equally strange and therefore completely familiar.”



The Catch Trap (1979)

by Marion Zimmer Bradley

First_last_ecard-1“In later life, when Tommy Zane was asked about his earliest memory, he never had any doubt.

First_last_ecard“As he had said, now it was okay.”



The Rainbow Boys (2001)

by Alex Sanchez

First_last_ecard-1“Jason Carrillo walked around the block a third time, working up his courage to go into the brownstone.

First_last_ecard“Jason took a deep breath, opened the door, and stepped inside.”


Bart Yates

Leave Myself Behind (2004)

by Bart Yates

First_last_ecard-1“I've never wanted a different mother.

First_last_ecard“But that would mean I'd have to read it, too, and that's the last thing I want to do.”



Comfort and Joy (1999)

by Jim Grimsley

First_last_ecard-1“To find a hiding place.

First_last_ecard“He found himself already hoping the phone would ring and a happy ending come, as Ford opened the door and they entered the quiet darkness, together.”


The carnivorous lamb

The Carnivorous Lamb (1975)

by Agustín Gómez-Arcos

First_last_ecard-1 “Eyes closed.”

First_last_ecard “And delighted to have met you.”



Cathedral City (2001)

by Gregory Hinton

First_last_ecard-1“To the priest, he resembled a factory worker in an American Realist painting.

First_last_ecard“From inside the bar, the music drifted lazily into the parking lot and scented the desert air with the past's perfume.”



The Ten 10s (2014)

by Benjamin Morgan

First_last_ecard-1“Chase Brady was feeling pale; he hadn't been tanning in almost two weeks, still healing form a trio of facial treatments: dermabrasion, Thermage and injections of Restylane, truth be told.

First_last_ecard“And provided the stars align just right, creating the vacuous Dyson-strong vacuum necessary, a Big Bang could always occur again, creating a new constellation of Ten 10s in a gay ghetto somewhere, someday.”



Fumbling Toward Divinity: The Adoption Scriptures (2005)

by Craig Hickman

First_last_ecard-1“The first time he sees her face, the first time he looks into her eyes, the first time he feels her arms around him and his around her, his water will break, and he will wail three decades and three years of tears.”

First_last_ecard“But I will always/cherish/the little black girl/in me.”



The Concrete Sky (2003)

by Marshall Moore

First_last_ecard-1“Stranded at the sort of party where we'd have been happier investigating the titles on the bookshelves than talking to the other guests, Chad Sobran took another sip of wine and considered his options for escape.”

First_last_ecard“Chad threw his own flowers into the water and watched them drift in the current.”



Consenting Adult (1975)

by Laura Z. Hobson

First_last_ecard-1“Dear Mama, I'm sorry about all the rows during vacation, and I have something to tell you that I guess I better not put off any longer.”

First_last_ecard“Then I am a consenting adult too.”



Capital Queers (2000)

by Fred Hunter

First_last_ecard-1“I don't like dogs.”

First_last_ecard“'God help them.'”



Maybe the Moon (1992)

by Armistead Maupin

First_last_ecard-1“The diary was Renee's idea.”

First_last_ecard“'P.P.S. The enclosed clipping is from today's Variety—in case you missed it.'”



The Genius of Desire (1993)

by Brian Bouldrey

First_last_ecard-1“This is not a story about my parents.”

First_last_ecard“This is what I would have told my grandmother.”



Getting Over Homer (1996)

by Mark O'Donnell

First_last_ecard-1“The punchline of the cartoon, of course, is that I'll probably do it all again.”

First_last_ecard“That's all for now.”



Sure of You (1989)

by Armistead Maupin

First_last_ecard-1“There was something different about his wife's face, Brian Hawkins had decided.”

First_last_ecard“'Looks like it.'”



Drama Queers! (2009)

by Frank Anthony Polito

First_last_ecard-1“'To thine ownself be true.'”

First_last_ecard“'To thine ownself be true.'”



Dream Boy (1995)

by Jim Grimsley

First_last_ecard-1“On Sunday in the new church, Preacher John Roberts tells about the disciple Jesus loved, whose name was also John, how at the last supper John lay his head tenderly on Jesus's breast.”

First_last_ecard“They never look back.”



Hold Tight (1988)

by Christopher Bram

First_last_ecard-1"As familiar now as our own baby pictures, the images were stil new and startling four months into the war.”

First_last_ecard“And he woke up, pleased by the dream and wondering how he could keep some of it for his conscious life.”



A Cry of Children (1952)

by John Horne Burns

First_last_ecard-1“It takes time and tiredness and tension to hate a city.”

First_last_ecard“But after a while they all get to look alike.”



Interview with the Vampire (1976)

by Anne Rice

First_last_ecard-1“'I see...' said the vampire thoughtfully, and slowly he walked across the room towards the window.”

First_last_ecard“And then, stuffing the notebook quickly in his pocket, he gathered the tapes into his brief case, along with the small recorder, and hurried down the long hallway and down the stairs to the street, where in front of the corner bar his car was parked.”



Blue Heaven (1988)

by Joe Keenan

“LooFirst_last_ecard-1king back on the whole ghastly affair, what surprises me most is that when news of Gilbert's plan first reached me I felt no sense of foreboding whatsoever.”

First_last_ecard“Philly, I have a little proposition for you, and please don't say no till I've finished—”



Grief (2006)

by Andrew Holleran

First_last_ecard-1“The house I lived in that winter in Washington had been a rooming house with fourteen rooms, rented out mostly to addicts, when my landlord bought it in 1974.”

First_last_ecard“Blessed be the Lord, bless my father and mother.”



The Order of the Poison Oak (2005)

by Brent Hartinger

First_last_ecard-1“I was surrounded by fires, angry blazes raging all around me.”

First_last_ecard“To myself, I was thinking, 'Well, maybe a little.'”



Death in Venice (1912)

by Thomas Mann

First_last_ecard-1“Gustav Aschenbach, or von Aschenbach, as his official surname had been since his fiftieth birthday, had taken another solitary walk from his apartment in Munich's Prinzregentenstrafie on a spring afternoon of the year 19.., which had shown the continent such a menacing grimace for a few months.

First_last_ecard“And on the very same day a respectfully shocked world received the news of his death.



Tim and Pete (1993)

by James Robert Baker

First_last_ecard-1“I was having a dream about Pete.”

First_last_ecard“I imagined I was looking at a painting of Pete and me, as we were right now, the way Joey would have painted it.”


Holy Innocents

The Holy Innocents (1988)

by Gilbert Adair

First_last_ecard-1The Cinémathèque Française is located in the sixteenth arrondissement of Paris between the Trocadéro esplanade and the avenue Albert-de-Mun.

First_last_ecard“Their tears, however, when they came, welled up from quite another source.”



Such Times (1993)

by Christopher Coe

First_last_ecard-1 “There may have been a day this year when I thought of him as dead right off, the first time he came to mind.”

First_last_ecard “I am still owing.”



Michael Tolliver Lives (2007)

by Armistead Maupin

First_last_ecard-1Not long ago, down on Castro Street, a stranger in a Giants parka gave me a loaded glance as we passed each other in front of Cliff's Hardware.

First_last_ecard“And more than I'd ever expected.”



Wings (1906)

by Mikhail Kuzmin

First_last_ecard-1“It was getting lighter and lighter in the carriage, which had emptied somewhat towards morning; through the misted windows could be seen the green of the grass, almost toxically bright despite it being the end of August, sodden roads, milkmaids' carts at a closed level-crossing barrier, watchmen's huts, and ladies from dachas out strolling under colored umbrellas.

First_last_ecard“He got up after a sleepless night, worn out and with an aching head, and, after dressing and washing deliberately slowly, without opening the blinds, by the table, where there stood a glass of flowers, he wrote, unhurriedly, 'Leave'; after a little thought, with the same not yet fully awake face, he added, 'I'm coming with you,'—and he opened the window into the street, which was bathed in bright sunlight.”



An Arrow's Flight (1998)

by Mark Merlis

First_last_ecard-1“Start with the boy, Pyrrhus.

First_last_ecard“He couldn't remember Pyrrhus inside him.”



Purgatory (2012)

by Jeff Mann

First_last_ecard-1“Amid the whizzing of Yankee bullets, there's a sharp gasp at my elbow.”

First_last_ecard“There, with luck, we will share long years together after this bloody war is done.”



Mary Ann in Autumn (2010)

by Armistead Maupin

First_last_ecard-1“There should be a rabbit hole was what she was thinking.”

First_last_ecard“Blossom gobbled it up with gusto.”



The Vintner's Luck (1998)

by Elizabeth Knox

First_last_ecard-1“A week after midsummer, when the festival fires were cold, and decent people were in bed an hour after sunset, a young man named Sobran Jodeau stole two of the freshly bottled whines to baptize the first real sorrow of his life.




As Meat Loves Salt (2001)

by Maria McCann

First_last_ecard-1“There was once a king who wished to know how much his three daughters loved him.”

First_last_ecard“Speak to me.”



Captain Harding's Six-Day War (2011)

by Elliott Mackle

First_last_ecard-1“Vultures discovered the body a couple of hours before dawn.

First_last_ecard“History seemed to be on our side.”



Gossip (1997)

by Christopher Bram

First_last_ecard-1“I should have known better.”

First_last_ecard“I was not alone.”



The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon (1991)

by Tom Spanbauer

First_last_ecard-1“If you're the devil, then it's not me telling this story.”

First_last_ecard“Welcome, welcome, 'mancipation.”



The Fallen Snow (2012)

John J. Kelley

First_last_ecard-1“He wasn't sure how long the woman had been watching him.

First_last_ecard“A good place on a good day, and loved...a soul couldn't hope for any better than that.”



My Lucky Star (2006)

Joe Keenan

First_last_ecard-1“It is never a happy moment in the life of a struggling artist when some fresh assault on his fragile dignity compels him finally and painfully to concede that Failure has lost its charm.”
First_last_ecard“My lucky star!”
Wicked Angels (1955)
by Eric Jourdan

First_last_ecard-1 “The sky was a deep royal blue with a calm grandeur.”

First_last_ecard “My body exploded as I crashed headfirst into the shadow.”



We Disappear (2008)

by Scott Heim

First_last_ecard-1 “The little girls who found the body of the missing boy were not angels, although that is how the newspaper described them, the following morning, beneath the headline.”

First_last_ecard “The utter peace of it.”

The World of Normal Boys (2000)
by K.M. Soehnlein
First_last_ecard-1“Maybe this is the moment when his teenage years begin.”
First_last_ecard“He climbs aboard.”

Blind Items: A (Love) Story (1998)

by Matthew Rettenmund

First_last_ecard-1“Wedding bells have rung for Mr. and Mrs. Fuck-Me-Raw, those two physically delicious (if suspiciously smooth) soft-sex stars I was telling you about three months back.”

First_last_ecard“Finally, I would like to say that anyone who is gay but feels unable to be honest about it should consider his or her decision to be closeted very closely—you don't know what—or who—you're missing.”



Nocturnes for the King of Naples (1978)

by Edmund White

First_last_ecard-1“A young man leans with one shoulder against the wall, and his slender body remains motionless against the huge open slab of night sky and night water behind him.”

First_last_ecard“As I looked at the other passengers, I could easily pick out those expressionless, intriguing beauties I address as you, those same faces, dark or fair, brooding or elated, whom I'd always believed I could love, even if I'd seen them only for a moment on a train or a bus or passing me on the street as I headed away from your dinner table, your saints,  into the noisy, quickening night, its shouts muted by the containing glass that you, or I, the magus, hold through it roll across a billiard table as green as the paradisal hoods of the sultan and his beloved within their garden, its pomegranate, palm and fountain besieged by mist and the howls of two lost dogs.”



The Days of Anna Madrigal (2014)

by Armistead Maupin

First_last_ecard-1“Summer had been warmer than usual this year, but the heat that throbbed in the East Bay was already coaxing pale fingers of fog into the city.”

First_last_ecard“There was a city waiting for her.”



Bitter Eden (2002)

by Tatamkhulu Afrika

First_last_ecard-1“I touch the scar on my cheek and it flinches as though the long-dead tissue had a lazarus-life of its own.”

First_last_ecard“It is his gun.”



Color Him Gay (1966)

by Don Holliday

First_last_ecard-1“Jackie Holmes smiled over the rim of his glass and returned the pressure against his leg.”

First_last_ecard“His thoughts, however, did not remain long on that subject. Joyfully, they returned to the present—to the body in his arms, and the pleasure of the moment.”



Some Dance to Remember: A Memoir-Novel of San Francisco 1970-1982 (2010)

by Jack Fritscher

First_last_ecard-1 “In the end, he could not deny his human heart.”

First_last_ecard “'It's not.'”