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Martin Bauman: or, A Sure Thing

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  308 ratings  ·  19 reviews
David Leavitt’s deliciously sharp novel is a multilayered dissection of literary and sexual mores in the get-ahead eighties, when outrageous success lay seductively within reach of any young writer ambitious enough to grab it. Martin Bauman — nineteen, talented, and insecure — is enrolled at a prestigious college and wins a place under the tutelage of the legendary Stanley ...more
Paperback, 388 pages
Published October 11th 2001 by Mariner Books (first published 2000)
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I grew as a gay man on Leavitt's writing, I don't love it the way, say, I love Andrew Holleran's "Dancer from the Dance" or Edmund White's "Nocturnes for the King of Naples," or even, more into the territory of 'Great Literature' Waugh's "Brideshead." It's lower-grade, more accessible, less complicated stuff, perhaps more at a middling-Mitford level for here and now and today and the US...fully entertaining and apt, to be sure. Adam Haslett is a far better and more nuanced writer, in the end, fo ...more
José Vivas M.
El libro es tan biográfico que a ratos, cuando Bauman habla de sus libros publicados, casi los busco en la bibliografía de Leavitt. De seguro gran parte del personaje central está basado en las propias experiencias del autor en el mundo editorial, en el literario de los ochenta, en el Nueva York fastuoso de las fiestas y las poses y el éxito y la llegada del sida.
Interesantes reflexiones aquí y allá sobre la madurez poco a poco hallada, las primeras experiencias en la escritura y fuera del close
Juan Vinasco
Un libro muy personal sobre la historia de un escritor gay en Nueva York de los años ochenta. Por momento uno duda si no es una autobiografía de Leavitt mismo. Tiene muy buenas reflexiones sobre esa cultura de la pretensión y el orgullo que muchas veces se ha tomado el mundo del arte y lo ha vuelto un círculo cerrado de adulaciones mutuas y sorpresas fingidas. La imagen de Nueva York de clase media alta es la típica de las películas, pero deja una idea de toda la gente que hace esfuerzos hasta r ...more
Ana Cost
Esta debe ser la primera novela de este estilo que he leído, y la verdad, es que me alegro mucho de que así sea. En mi opinión es una fantástica novela, muy bien escrita, y bastante adecuada para volver a leer (en mi caso) cuando no se quiere uno arriesgar con otra novela. Sin embargo, aunque el personaje de Stanley Flint me enamoró, no sólo por su inteligencia, y esas fantásticas frases, sino también por su franqueza e insensibilidad, el protagonista Martin Bauman, me decepcionaba cada vez más ...more
Rob Walter
David Leavitt can't write. His sentences are ugly, his paragraphs even more so, and the hundred or so pages of this book that I read seemed to indicate that his structure is pretty awful too. The characters are unmotivated and unpleasant. The greatest problem, though, is that clearly none of it ever happened. The adjectives and adverbs are just put in for decoration, not to share with you what the protagonist really experienced. In one scene a delivery boy rings the bell and for some reason stan ...more
This one was annoying to read and it exposes that artists can simply be pampered brats with a prestigious education. David Leavitt was so verbose and the characters were so narcissistic, especially Bauman. Apparently this is a veiled memoir about a group of writers in New York in the 1980s- the theme: "You may hate us but we produce great works of art". It reminded me of Prokofiev's autobiography which demystified classical music for me because he really had no particular profound musical vision ...more
Dec 12, 2009 Ria added it
Martin Bauman speelt in de decadente jaren tachtig en vertelt het verhaal van de gelijknamige ambitieuze jonge schrijver in het literaire wereldje van New York: zijn liefdesperikelen, zijn behoefte om voor zijn seksuele geaardheid uit te komen, de relatie tot zijn legendarische mentor Stanley Flint, zijn neiging tot sjoemelen met examens en affaires, zijn korte periode als aids-activist en zijn '15 minuten roem'.[return]Ondanks Martins ogenschijnlijke succes worden zijn verlangens niet echt verv ...more
Sherri Mcinnis
I enjoyed the first part of the book, but the last part seemed to not really go anywhere. To be honest I didn't even read the last 50 pages or so. If there was a big conclusion, I missed it. At first I liked the characters, but after a while, I found myself tired of their whining. And they never seemed to do much of anything.

However, I read this book because I have an uncommon interest in NYC in the 1980s, gay life in the 80s, AIDS, etc. And I also enjoy reading books written by or about people
Michael Alan Grapin
Ever wonder what it means to be a young, gay author living in New York City? Martin Bauman moves east to attend school where he forms a bond with his writing professor then stays in New York after graduation making his way in literary circles and the gay community which appear to be one and the same. Relationships with friends and lovers are described in detail often shmaltzey sometimes lurid and usually interesting.
I think it is a boring book about a boring bunch of people. It is provincial, even if the story happens in New York, because the world it talks about is very limited. It takes the personal condition of the main character as a jew, a writer and a homosexual, living in New York at a particular time , as the subject. But David Leavitt cannot universalize it for all of us to became participants of the problems and mental tribulations of Martin Bauman. I did not like it and I only managed to finish i ...more
Sarah Steed
A reread, which I think I enjoyed more this time round.
I loved it, pure and simple. It was set in a time far beyond my existence so I'll give it lee way after all it is fiction. The sentences were a bit long but spoke volumes of Martin's character since it was in first person. The characters all brought out very human emotions in belivable circumtances to the table and all in all I enjoyed every single page.
Sep 29, 2007 Maria rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: writers
An interesting story about writing, writers, living, being different and finding one's way. The writing actually uses terribly long sentences that take a while to become accustomed to, and the chapters are long and usually undivided, but not a terrible read overall. I didn't find a real climax or essence, but I liked it nonetheless.
Katie M.
I'm sorry, David Leavitt, but there's really only so many neurotic gay white Jewish protagonists living in New York that a girl can take. I think I just need to stop reading your books, because they're all about you. Which is totally your prerogative, but I just find you boring. No offense.
Sara Comuzzo
una new york fatta di feste, scrittori, editori, aspiranti qualcosa. ambiente letterario e universitario si fondono insieme tra festini e passioni.
ben scritto sicuramente, un pò lungo e prolisso, uno di quei libri però che non rimangono dentro visto che non ne ricordo molto.
Sergio Iannini
Buen libro. La forma en que Leavitt describe los demonios que cada personaje, sobre todo Martin, tienen en sus cabezas es maravillosa. Interesante forma de mezclar el mundo editorial con la homosexualidad, las relaciones de amistad, de pareja y los comienzos del sida.
Gemma Williams
An absorbing long novel about a young gay writer, part of New York's 80s 'brat pack', it is witty and beautifully written, considering the ethics of literature and the literary scene with acuity and poise. Very enjoyable, sly and funny.
The fascinating world of publishing. Too much foreshadowing, not enough that actually happens. Still kinda funny. Like hanging out with friends.
Michael Brown
Martin Bauman goes painfully close to the bone for me. Perhaps not something to be universally appreciated.
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Leavitt is a graduate of Yale University and a professor at the University of Florida, where he is the co-director of the creative writing program. He is also the editor of Subtropics magazine, The University of Florida's literary review.

Leavitt, who is openly gay, has frequently explored gay issues in his work. He divides his time between Florida and Tuscany, Italy.
More about David Leavitt...

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“Quizá esté en la naturaleza de la amistad, en cuanto opuesta al amor, que la consideremos una continuidad que no hay que alimentar y de la que nos alejemos cuanto nos apetece, convencidos de que, al igual que el afecto de nuestra madre, estará allí para recibirnos en el momento en que regresemos. Pero, ay, no es lo que ocurre con la amistad, que a la postre se asemeja más al amor de lo que la mayoría de la gente admite.” 0 likes
“¡Oh, el anhelo payasesco de quienes no han sido amados tal cual son!” 0 likes
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