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Jim Willard, former high-school athlete and clean-cut boy-next-door-, is haunted by the memory of a romanctic adolescent encounter with his friend Bob Ford. As Jim pursues his first love, in awe of the very same masculinity he possesses himself, his progresss through the secret gay world of 1940's America unveils surreptitious Hollywood affairs, the hidden life of the military in the Second World War and the underworld bar culture of New York City. With the publication of his daring thrid novel The City and the Pillar in 1948, Gore Vidal shocked the American public, which has just begun to hail him as their newest and brightest young writer. It remains not only an authentic and profoundly importatnt social document but also a serious exploration of the nature of idealistic love.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780349106571
ISBN-10: 0349106576
Format: Paperback
(195mm x 127mm x 13mm)
Pages: 192
Imprint: Abacus
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 1-May-1997
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » In 1948 Gore Vidal was the brightest, youngest and certainly best-connected star in the American literary firmament and he threw it all away. He did it by writing this book, where the heroes are gay. It took Vidal 20 years to be re-admitted into the American literary mainstream; his political ambitions were, however, thwarted. The novel stands up remarkably well. It is beautifully written, and to its legendary status can be added the fascination of viewing a sector of society that has changed beyond recognition; not least as a result of Vidal's work. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » A serious treatment of the problem of homosexuality, which instead of highlighting the more ordinary types of perversion, concentrates on the lesser recognized love of men for men, without spurious imitation of women. Jim Willard, a good athlete, finds completion in his first love, and sexual experience, with virile Bob, and holds Bob's image before him as an ideal. He runs away to sea, lands a job as tennis instructor in Hollywood, where star Ronald Shaw further instructs him in the secrets of the worlds without women, in the proper conduct of not betraying himself in public. Writer Sullivan continues Jim's education, introduces him to Maria- but her love is not enough to swing him into heterosexuality. In the war, though some suspected Jim for what he was, he was never openly labeled, and his discharge came for actual medical reasons, and he sought out Bob again. He hoped to resume the old relationship despite Bob's marriage, but when Bob turns on him, Jim murders him- and leaves again for the sea...With sociological and psychological implications against the female-dominated American, this offers a thesis for the recognition of normal love between men, but does not turn out to be another Dasty Answer on its side of the ledger, though it provides the same controversial, understanding material...Storm warnings for PL's. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal was at the centre of literary and intellectual life for half a century and wrote 'The Narratives of a Golden Age' series as well as countless bestsellers. He died on 31st July 2012.

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