Oleg Kagan's Reviews > The Night Listener

The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin
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's review
Jun 25, 2010

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bookshelves: gay, san-francisco
Read from June 01 to 05, 2010

The Night Listener is a worthwhile piece of work not just because the story if full of suspense and sharp turns but because of the way it refers. What I mean is that The Night Listener is an audiobook about a gay writer of a thinly-disguised biographical radio series who was involved in a hoax and wrote about it, read by Maupin, a gay writer of a well-known and realistic series (Tales of the City) who was involved in a hoax (refer to Anthony Godby Johnson), wrote this story and read it as a serialized novel on salon.com. Of course, all of this is perfectly deliberate which is what makes it fantastic and finding out about this background only after listening to the book made it even more so.

Another appeal of The Night Listener were that it wasn't a GAY novel, just a novel with gay characters; homosexuality was the normal state of affairs, which is as it should be. I am a fan of reading about sub-cultures and so am drawn to the The Night Listener because it reveals the mores of the gay community in a matter-of-fact way. I can learn and be entertained at the same time. Now what I really should do as a follow-up to this appeal is to add some lesbian fiction to my "to-read" shelf. Whereas, there's are plenty of gay male authors I can think of who write about gay males, the only lesbian novel that I can think of off the top of my head is Rubyfruit Jungle by (pre-mystery-novel) Rita Mae Brown. If I think hard, I'm sure I can come up with more, but I know I haven't read a whole lot -- it's a corner of the literary landscape that I should explore.

More appeals: main character is a writer, break-up, happy ending, San Francisco, well-read audiobook.

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