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The Man on the Third Floor

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Walter Samson is a successful book editor in post-World War Two New York. He has more than enough money, an interesting wife, Phyllis, two smart children and reason to believe he's leading the good American life. That is, until by chance he meets Barry Rogers. Barry is blue collar, handsome, single, and poor.

Walter is instantly drawn to Barry and, despite the considerable
...more
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published November 2012 by The Permanent Press
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The Twoweeks by Larry DubersteinThe Inbetween People by Emma  McEvoyKnock Knock by Suzanne McNearLooking for Przybylski by K.C. FrederickThe Man on the Third Floor by Anne Bernays
The Permanent Press
5th out of 10 books — 1 voter
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Best Gay Historical Fiction
179th out of 218 books — 250 voters


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Community Reviews

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Ellie
I am a fan of writer Anne Bernays, so I was delighted to win a copy of The Man on the Third Floor from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

The book was extremely readable, despite the fact that the narrator's voice is cold, usually dispassionate (except with regards to his own passion) and judgmental. As may be obvious, I did not much like Walter Samson, the protagonist in this story, although I enjoyed his world-he is an editor for a small publishing house in 1950s New York, during the height of the
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Curtis
In the post-World War II era of McCarthyism, Walter Samson, a very successful editor with a picture-perfect family (loving wife, adoring son and daughter) has little worry in the world. Until one day Barry Rogers shows up in his office and awakens a whole part of Walter he never knew existed. Spurred by his passion, he not only takes up a clandestine relationship with Barry, he goes so far as to move him into the servants' quarters of his home so they can be closer together. While constantly at ...more
Laura Zimmerman
I read this book thanks to my fiance, who won the book through a Goodreads giveaway. He spoke highly of the book and put it on the top of my 'to read' pile of books--that's high praise from him!

The Man on the Third Floor portrays the life of a book publisher in the early- to mid-1900's. This publisher, while married, is involved in a homosexual relationship with a man who lives in the same house the publisher and his family live in. However, the sexual orientation of the publisher, while an impo
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Sheila


Set in an earlier time of publishing, when editors sought out authors to earn their millions, when words were golden and books were beloved and heroes were seen enjoying martinis lunches in New York hotels… and the closet was closed… Anne Bernays’ The Man on the Third Floor tells the story of a successful gentleman whose money, home and lifestyle all hang by a thread. A stranger has entered that perfect life and suddenly the world’s satisfactions are not what they seemed, at least not for Walter
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Julie
Walter Samson is a married man with two young children. He is a senior editor at a Manhattan publisher. By chance, he meets Barry Rogers, who is laying carpet in his office. Barry is very blue collar, poor, and quite handsome. When Walter finds himself drawn to Barry, they meet repeatedly, with Walter finally offering Barry an apartment in the third floor of his home. Barry accepts, and acts as a chauffeur and handyman for the family. Walter and Barry covertly carry out a love affair, supposedly ...more
Jaime
I had been craving a little gay fiction, felt it was needed, i stumbled upon this title through the local library. I found this book to be very telling of many closeted homosexuals stuck in marriages going about life through their occasional erotic gay encounters. Bernays captured with great certainty the protagonist struggles within himself to reconcile his true self while trying to create for others the image of a perfect home. At times I found Walter to be self serving and narcissistic yet ca ...more
Blake Fraina
This slim volume covers quite a bit of territory in its 184 pages. Ostensibly, it's about the gay awakening of its narrator, Walter Samson, set against the backdrop of the 1950’s New York publishing world and the red scare of the McCarthy era. Drawing obvious parallels between the communist witch hunt and Samson’s justifiable paranoia over being outed as a homosexual, author Bernays sets herself an ambitious agenda. Unfortunately, in certain respects, her reach exceeds her grasp.

Strictly as an e
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Rob Slaven
As I've said a dozen times this month, I received this book from a GoodReads drawing.

My last several reviews have reflected an increasing level of cynicism about books, which is a polite way of saying that I've waded through quite a bit of mediocrity. This one, however, was good enough to make me throw out quite a few books as "suspected unpleasantness" and refocus on reading quality literature rather than wasting time on junk. No matter how invigorating it may be to write a scathing review of s
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Jennifer
Quick read and well done by Blackstone Audio. I found the story a little implausible considering the era, but maybe NYC and the publishing world were more accepting than one would imagine, not having lived in post WWII times. Hard to absorb the details of such deceit but good insight into the conflict that must've tormented people like Walt in the past (and sadly continuing today in some places/circles).
Mark
Smoothly written, engaging and satisfying. Sets the period accurately and it's minimum of hysteria gives it an authentic feel. There's a piece missing though. I know very little about the title character and that's the narrator's most important relationship. Also though the resolve is non-clichéd and a relief, it has a lingering effect of anticlimax.
drowningmermaid
Sags a bit in the middle. Could have been a stronger short story or novella.

Is not really about GLBTQ issues, as most of the book-- except for the very beginning and very end, could just as easily substitute a female concubine with nothing changed.

It's mostly about the book publishing world, and that aspect is interesting.

Realistic characters and excellent characterization of the times. All but the Fleming character, who sounded like an editor's "dream" writer.

Nothing bad about it. Nothing stel
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Hyacinth
Received as a giveaway on goodreads.com first reads. Thank you for choosing me and I look forward to reading it. I read this book in a few hours. It had me captivated from the beginning. To me, the narrative was disconnected...well maybe detached would be a better word in a third person kind of way. It was almost as if this were happening to someone else and not him. The story line was true to the time period. I found bits of it comical in an ironic sort of way. I cannot believe he pulled this o ...more
Connie Lee
Such an easy read for an excellent book. Post WWII Walter struggles with his slowly dawning acceptance of his gay identity. At the same time while he tries not to get involved with J Edgar Hoovers war on "commies," he is finally forced into choosing sides. As in life, the right moral choices are often not easy.
Sharlene
Received as an Early Reviewer book. I mostly enjoyed Anne Bernays writing style--especially in the first 2/3 of the book, but found her portrayal of the main character rather flat. Missing was a large degree of suspense that would have surrounded his surreptitious relationship with another man in his own house. The story line surrounding the threats made by his publishing firms key author and ultimate exposure of his affair also failed to deliver. It almost seemed like the author was tired of wr ...more
Sherree Gaskell
This was my first reading of a book by this author. I was taken by surprise. The writing style had a quality and kindness to it that I loved from the beginning. The author takes us on a journey without becoming tiresome. There are no long drawn out descriptions, but rather the gentle tale comes across as if a narrative between friends having coffee. Walter is likeable as is his wife Phyllis. The homosexual theme of the book is interesting and I found this to be an altogether pleasant reading exp ...more
Angela
This book started very slowly and had some gaps in the plot, in my opinion. For example, how did Barry come to live with Walter? Furthermore, I'd say the firs third was a bit mundane - Walter doing this, Walter doing that. However, the book picked up substantially after about 1/3 of the way through - at that point, I could not put it down. I did find Walter a bit narcissistic, and not entirely likeable, but the backdrop of the McCarthy era, in my mind, explained that a bit.
Jessica
I really liked that this was a story about a man in the 20s-50s and his typical well-off family, and his secret male lover who lived in the servants quarters upstairs in his house. Although intriguing, the story was also flat and dull. In a very weird way this book was both easy to read and easy to put down.

*disclaimer* I won this book through the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway, but my review is 100% honest.
Alexander
Not my favorite book in the world, likely wouldn't suggest it to anybody else. I enjoyed the setting, though didn't really like or hate the characters. I feel that I want to read another version of this book, but as a complete fiasco. I wanted more a little more sneaking around and less matter of fact.
hope
Fun and fascinating window into the '50's era publishing world, coming from someone who knows it best. This is a real page-turner - Anne Bernays writes with wit and canor about a hidden relationship conducted at a time when revealing it would be disastrous for all parties involved.
Erdahs
Jan 30, 2015 Erdahs marked it as to-read
Shelves: first-reads
Won as part of the Goodreads first reads program. Review to come.
Nancy
Well written for a first person narrative.
Colette
interesting and thought provoking
Elly Wendy
Liked it. Some new insights for me.
Toby
first reads giveaway
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