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Myra Breckinridge/Myron (20th-Century Classics)
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Myra Breckinridge/Myron (20th-Century Classics)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  655 ratings  ·  64 reviews
The first paperback edition to combine Gore Vidal's brilliant and energetic fantasy Myra Breckinridge with its sequel, Myron. "A moral masterpiece."--The Times (London) 10,000 print.
Paperback, 432 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Penguin Classics (first published 1968)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,174)
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MJ Nicholls
Myra Breckinridge (1968) is a scabrous genderbender satire about an untouchable woman(?) out to claim her fortune from a sleazy Hollywood mogul. If you’re familiar with Gore Vidal’s haughtiness from one of his incalculable TV appearances it might take a moment to settle into this female(?) voice, but once the farcical frolics begin the novel is heap-good-fun. Among the more notorious scenes are Myra’s dildo rape of male chauvinist Rusty, and her failure to achieve Sapphic congress with the defia ...more
Jesse
I have no idea how this would read to somebody not familiar with classic Hollywood cinema (for as it is cheekily reiterated on several occasions: "in the decade between 1935 and 1945, no irrelevant film was made in the United States", emphasis NOT mine), if only because so much of the razor-sharp humor is wrapped up in knowing things like the ridiculous plot of The Seventh Veil or the absurdity of offhandedly proclaiming Since You Went Away a masterpiece or the humor in finding "the curve to the ...more
Imogen
I will give you one star because your prose is so delightfully bitchy, Gore Vidal- especially the introduction, told from the point of view of "Gore Vidal"- but no more because this book is bad stupid. Like, okay, sure, dumb fluff, sixties queerness, obsessing about the movies of the forties because you're a silly two-dimensional cartoon, all that stuff is great. But, just as you get to write about trans women without doing any research (and therefore just make stuff up, like 'estrogen impedes h ...more
Damon Suede
One of the most delicious, camp meditations on American pop culture ever committed to print. Gore Vidal has written a comedy of bad manners to rival Sheridan and WIlde.

Pointedly vulgar, deliriously savvy, this novel knows exactly what it wants to do from its first moments. The first-person narrator announces the death of mataphor early on and then relates the entire lurid saga sticking to those ideological guns. Hilarious and brilliant and exactly right for the character and the world depicted.
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Andy
Sep 24, 2008 Andy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody I like
Shelves: gay-lesbian
Bah, humbug. Everybody loves this book, and all I see is an uptight Cape Cod queen getting jealous after reading "Naked Lunch" and thinking "I can write like that!" Well, you can't Miss Gore. I'll stick to watching Raquel Welch tramp around in her foxy flag outfit.
Mark
Very daring in its day, this satire remains hilarious and thought provoking. Anais Nin, one of Vidal's lovers, was an inspiration for the grandiose voice of Myra while the perverse sophistication is the author's own. While these two books enabled many of us to cast aside our Sky God inhibitions the same prudes and hypocrites remain in charge. Well, they can't stop us being consensual adults in private or preventing the twenty year fetish club debauch I managed while, er, researching my own books ...more
Robert Zoltan
Two of the greatest satires ever written. Two of my favorite books of all time. I was reading a book by a current best-selling comedic author. I was in a state of un-grippedness. Read like a book being written in preparation for getting optioned as a movie (no style, which is very popular nowadays). I picked up Myra Breckenridge and read the first chapter (two pages long). I laughed out loud and was in awe. THIS IS WRITING.

Vidal is one of the greatest writers ever. One of my personal heroes.
Matthew
I genuinely still don't know what to make of these two novels, which I read back to back over Easter. They were recommended by a work colleague with a taste for the outrageous, so maybe I should not have been surprised, but for a novel which is clearly so literary to be so bizarre and out there was a new one on me! The language and attitudes are rather outdated (the novels were written in 1968 and 1974 respectively and it shows)but the satire on American life and attitudes remains pretty sharp.
H
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Sue
I remember hearing all of the uproar over this book when I was young but this was the first time that I had read it. Maybe I would have liked it better years ago but now I just don't see the appeal. I'd always heard that it was a sophisticated, witty novel. All I read was a story that was very antagonistic toward transgenders and (here comes a spoiler so if you don't want to know, please stop reading) I also can't get over the rape scene. I'm certainly no prude, but the fact that a teacher tortu ...more
David Fulmer
Myra Breckinridge states at the beginning of her book that her mission is to ‘re-create the sexes’ for the good of the human race and her campy, movie obsessed voice dominates this frothy novel by Gore Vidal. The plot involves her attempt to acquire her dead husband’s share of an inheritance of land in Westwood from his uncle, a former actor called Buck Loner who now runs an Academy for aspiring actors on the property. He takes her on as a teacher of Posture and Empathy at the Academy while his ...more
Saneseeker
This is the first Gore Vidal novel I have read and I’m certainly not disappointed. I have always seen the human species as the agents of the apocalypse and my only criticism of that species is that it is so slow in completing its work. In this literary masterpiece and very clever anti-human satire I seem to have found an unsentimental and eloquent voice that’s in agreement. Myra’s observations on nuclear devastation, environmental destruction and the end of the human race challenge the very pess ...more
Kat
Myra Breckinridge is one Sick Twist. I found this book shocking...and I am not easily shocked. Myra is a trannie, a sadist, a revolutionary and completely nuts.

However, Vidal's 1968 title character cannot be classified with most of the one-dimensional psycho transgender characters so common in our cultural production (Dressed to Kill, Sleepaway Camp and Silence of the Lambs to name a few). Myra believes that all human relations are based on "the desire in each of us to exercise absolute power o
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Brooke
Another old blog...

I recently finished reading Gore Vidal's Myra Breckenridge and the sequel, Myron. I don't really know what more to say about this book other than it was about a freakin' SCHIZOPHRENIC TRANSEXUAL! It was pretty funny, in it's own way, but is also kind of intimidating in it's discussions of sexual power over others, and the things some (psychotic) people will do to attain that power. Myra Breckenridge was written entirely from the perspective of post-sex-change Myra (formerly My
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Jeff
This is my 3rd time reading Myra and my 2nd time reading Myron, and they are as brilliant as i remember. Though I didn't laugh quite as hard this time, simply because jokes aren't as funny the 3rd time you hear them, I still would put Myra Breckinridge up there with A Confederacy of Dunces as one of the funniest books ever written. Myra is two of the most fiercely unique characters ever created, and Vidal's take on gender, sexuality, & morality is genius. Wish I could have read this when it ...more
Kyle
Being two separate books, this requires two reviews.

Myra Breckenridge is the predecessor to transgressive literature. One can see how much Palahniuk pulled from Vidal's delivery of the twist when he wrote Fight Club. Vidal succeeds with his tremendous feat of combining obscene ideas with satirical and critical opinions of materialist America and its conservative agendas.

Myron is a less funny, a less extreme, a less innovative, a less interesting version of Myra. Throwing the couple into 1940s H
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Kieran
Apr 07, 2014 Kieran rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
It probably caused an outrage when first published, but it seems dated now. I remember getting boxed for reading my father's copy at the age of 14. It is funny in places, especially the dictaphone transcripts with the bits about the masseuses and reminders to buy items for the evening meal. But I did not get into it.
NancyHelen
This is a strange, dark, gruesomely amusing and darkly cutting pair of novels. The edition I have has both novels in it. In the first, Myron is Myra - megalomaniacal, narcissistic, single minded and powerful. There is one particular scene in the novel which is both pivotal and shocking and is what caused the book to be banned in Australia at least. The second novel, Myron, is even stranger. Myron finds himself trapped inside the TV during a filming of a B-rate Hollywood move in 1948. But chapter ...more
David
Looking at the world through the eyes of a 1950s starlet who thinks she is the sexiest woman alive was fun. Gore Vidal created a cartoon-like character, Myra, who has modeled herself after numerous Hollywood stars and has delusions of her own grandeur. The book was entertaining, gender-bending, and it seems fairly shocking and subversive for its time of publishing in 1968. Although, now its rape scene and transgender character come off as strange and unrealistic rather than subversive. I am stil ...more
Kate
May 03, 2008 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Malthusians
Recommended to Kate by: Craig, in a way
"Or as Diotima said to Hyperion, in Hölderlin's novel, 'It was no man that you wanted, believe me; you wanted a world.' I too want a world and mean to have it."

"Is it possible to describe anything accurately? That is the problem set us by the French New Novelists. The answer is, like so many answers to important questions, neither yes nor no. The treachery of words is notorious."

"It is impossible to sort out all one's feelings at any given moment on any given subject, and so perhaps it is wise n
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Chriso
I have managed to own and lose so many copies of this book. And yet I keep prowling used bookstores to re-buy and re-read it because I absolutely adore it. Myra Breckinridge is definitely the strongest of the two novels, although Myron is delightful as well. I honestly can't get enough of Myra's "voice". It also occurred to me, after recently re-reading Invisible Monsters that Chuck Palahniuk very likely got some inspiration from Myra when creating Brandy Alexander. I think this book is effing f ...more
Caroline Owens


Ok. This one is tough because I DID appreciate the writing and some of the more intellectual theories running through both books. On a side note, I ended up googling a ton of the actors and actresses mentioned and got a bit of an education in Forties cinema.

BUT, I was so disturbed by the rape scenes that they I can't say I really enjoyed the books as much as I might have wanted to. I'm not trying to be moralistic here - it just personally was not my cup of tea.

Interested to read some of GV's
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Ben Richmond
A worthwhile and rather sly yarn with a fairly unnecessary sequel. My rather cursory understanding of who Mr. Vidal is colored my approach, causing me to look more for social commentary rather than to follow just the story, or strength of prose, which is probably what allowed me to finish the "Myron" story. Read the Myra, enjoy the humor, furrow your brow at the excessively lewd parts (which don't feel justified, and make you wonder just what Mr. Vidal was up to) and skip the Myron.
M. Cornelis van der Weele IV
Though Vidal displays an obvious and impressive mastery of the English language, the simple fact is: Once you have inured yourself to the contextually shocking depictions of sex and debauchery you are left with a fairly boring tale of a sociopath on a convoluted mission of self-empowerment. Worth reading for a certain sense of late 60's kitsch, but not necessarily the sort of work which leaves the reader with any lasting emotional impression.
Aric Cushing
Probably the best book written by Gore Vidal, which Truman Capote stated, but nonetheless was panned by critics. Humorous, graphic, and bazaar.
Brian
Underneath the bitchy camp dialouge is some potent ideas about sex, overpopulation, and identity. It was a joy to read while being a product of its time still shocks and titilates the reader whit a high form of trashy melodrama and pornographic details. Should be required reading in high schools then maybe kids would read and begin to be more open minded about sexual identity and the history of film.
sab
Feb 23, 2008 sab rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to sab by: Aaron
This is a WOW book, not for everyone. Very sexually explicit, includes a lot of violent power games and, oh, it's so disturbing. Loved it. The drama! What a psychological twist! Does anyone feel sorry for Myra/Myron? If you are faint of heart or easily embarrassed, maybe this book is not for you...or, rather, maybe you should definitely read it!
Lori
Being of an age where I can remember the furor when the book first came out, I however, never read it. Now, I know why. Maybe a story about a sadist, transvestite, schizophrenic, is appealing, but at some point I lost all interest and skimmed through "Myron", as even though I know some of the movie references, this was just plain babble to me.
Carol Maloney
I can't give this book a full review because I decided that life is too short for me to continue with a book that I don't care enough about.

References to film stars and films, few of which I have experience of, put me off. I understand why Myra would reference them but I don't give a hoot.

Onward and upward.
Scott
It was alright. Definitely not a book I'd recommend highly. Messiah is a better entry if you want to read something by Gore Vidal. Unless you need to read a book about gender roles, sexual identity, sex change operations, schizophrenia, and Hollywood. Then this is probably a good choice.
Brent
Read this book many years ago. Remember it as being profoundly trashy and disappointing. Normally I love Gore Vidal, and Burr is one of my favorites, but this is bad poorly written porn. If I come across it again maybe I'll reread it and update my review.
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5657
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer known for his essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. He was also known for his patrician manner, Transatlantic accent, and witty aphorisms. Vidal came from a distinguished political lineage; his grandfather was the senator Thomas Gore, and he later became a relation (through marriage) to Jacqueline Kennedy.

Vidal ran for political office twi
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More about Gore Vidal...
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