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International Gay & Lesbian Review

The Beauty of Men

by Andrew Holleran

Gene Touchet: Gene Touchet teaches literature in Los Angeles and is an afiliated scholar of ONE Institute.

A close friend of mine hates this book. He's too mature to hate. This book is perhaps a bit unsettling, but it is probably an accurate description of a sort of panic which hits all human beings when we reach a certain age. It just happens that Mr. Holleran spends more time writing abut it than most people spend thinking about it. At some point (early on) in the book one begins to respond: “OK. Get on with it.” It is a little off-putting to discover that there is no other “it.”

This is a book about an unhappily ageing gay man. It is a book about being a solo gay man in a small southern town. It is a book about not wanting to leave youthful perquisites. Holleran surrounds his main character, Lark, with people who have learned to cope. Lark has not learned the lesson. It doesn't seem he is going to learn the lesson. One wonders if Holleran has learned to cope.

My friend says if Holleran is unhappy at being fifty, wait until he reaches sixty-five. I say Mr. Holleran should take the reading experiences and insights he has developed and put them to use in a less subtle way than this. Artists comment on their societies. This is somber comment. Most ageing gays I know deal with ageing a lot better than Lark. I hope Holleran is coping better, too.

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International Gay & Lesbian Review
Los Angeles, CA