Punk's Reviews > The Dreyfus Affair: A Love Story

The Dreyfus Affair by Peter Lefcourt
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's review
Jun 14, 2007

did not like it
bookshelves: queer
Read in May, 2001

Friends, I know you guys are loving this book, but I'm going to have to sit myself at the unpopular table on this one because it decidedly did NOT push my buttons. None of the good ones at least.

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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Trin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trin I'd seen before that you'd given it a one-star rating and I was curious why. What bugged you about it?

And don't feel bad about sitting at the unpopular table on this one. This is me every time I go to the movies:

MY FRIENDS: Wow! That was so much fun! I loved it!
EVERYONE: *realizes subsequent dinner conversation will be extremely awkward*

message 2: by Punk (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:17AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Punk Ha! Yeah, this is why I'm at the uncool table; I don't have anything nice to say.

It's been a while since I read the book, so I can't give you any specific examples, but part of the problem is that Lefcourt's not a very good writer. He writes ham-handed trash -- which is okay! I read ham-handed trash! -- but I couldn't tell if he meant for this book to be funny; funny in an awful way (all that talk about batting lefty?); or if he thought that's how gay baseball players work. It came off as more homophobic than homoerotic, and I felt more annoyed than entertained.

message 3: by Trin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trin Well, I definitely agree that Lefcourt's not going to win any Prose Stylist of the Year awards, but the book still worked for me; Randy seemed realistic to me as someone who has spent most of his life being macho-borderline-homophobic who suddenly realizes he likes teh boyz. I actually sort of liked his confusion and thought his relationship with D.J. was kind of sweet.

HOWEVER, I'll admit that my standards may be lower than normal because there are so few good gay romances out there, especially involving the world of sport (and especially baseball, which is my favorite). I'm reading The Front Runner now; we'll see how that goes.

message 4: by Punk (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:18AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Punk Have you read Michael Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh? That's a fantastic gay romance, and it's the main character's first try at being gay, which is a big kink of mine.

It is Chabon's first book, so it's a little rocky, and I have issues with the last few chapters, but the romance is wonderful.

message 5: by Trin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:18AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trin That's a big kink of mine, too, so I'll definitely check it out. *g* Even though I usually have issues with Chabon's endings...

message 6: by Res (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:18AM) (new)

Res Oh, I fondly remember The Mysteries of PIttsburgh! It's one of those books (Swordspoint is another) where I read the entire thing and remember almost nothing about the plot, but can quote you entire lines out of the sex scenes. ("It hurt a great deal, and the oil was cold and strange.")

message 7: by Trin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:18AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trin That? Is the best party trick I've ever heard of. *vbeg*

message 8: by Punk (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:18AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Punk Trin, I will admit this to you, in full view of the internet, that while Mysteries of Pittsburgh is one of my favorite books, every time I reread it I stop before I get to the actual end. I just like it better my way. The real end feels like it belongs to an entirely different book.

message 9: by Trin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:19AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trin Okay, I have read it! And I see what you mean about the end. Though I don't think cutting off the last few chapters would help me, really. (I'm curious—where do you stop reading at?) I spent the whole book not really sure where it was going—which can be fine, great even, as long as it makes sense whenever it gets there. I'm still sort of "huh" about the whole thing. I thought Chabon's prose was beautiful (it's been ages since I read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay and I didn't really remember one way or the other), and I loved the Art & Arthur bits, but man, I really hated Phlox and couldn't figure out why Art wanted to be with her, or how Chabon wanted us to feel about her in any way at all. So—yeah, sorry for the ramble. Basically, I really enjoyed the experience of reading this (I absolutely devoured it) but now I'm like *waves hands* so confused!

message 10: by Punk (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:19AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Punk Okay, I grabbed my copy and skimmed the end, and I think I actually read everything up to the last chapter.

For me, that's a more satisfying ending than this running away to Spain nonsense, which has always felt random; it doesn't tell us if Art has grown or regressed. I've never really known how to take it either.

Phlox is a pain, and probably meant to be -- I read her as mostly a function of how confused and useless Art is. He lets himself be sucked up by her wants and needs because he doesn't know what he wants for himself. She doesn't bother me much because I know she's not that important. I just give her the old handwave. *g*

This is one of my comfort reads, and I know it's not perfect, but, yeah, the language is wonderful, and the Art & Arthur parts are so filled with surprise and curiosity and newness and I love that. That part Chabon got right.

message 11: by Trin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trin ARGH, Good Reads ate my comment the first time around. ANYWAY, what I was trying to say was:

I probably shouldn't say this as I've only read 2 1/2 of his books (I didn't make it through Summerland for some reason—maybe I should try again), but I feel that Chabon is one of those writers—like Douglas Coupland, kinda—who has a TRULY GREAT novel in him, but just really hasn't written it yet. (It wasn't Kavalier Clay, despite what some people might say.) Anyway, thank you for directing me to this—I really did enjoy it, even when it left me mildly befuddled, and it made me want to read more Chabon in the near future. Have you read Wonder Boys? I love the movie; I wonder how the book compares.

message 12: by Punk (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:20AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Punk I love Wonder Boys, and the movie is actually a fairly loyal adaptation. It left a LOT of the book out, but the relationships are pretty much the same. I was very happy with the movie. It stands on its own, but it also does justice to the book.

The book is, obviously, a lot more convoluted (it has a snake, and a Passover celebration), with a lot more secondary characters. It tells the same basic story as the movie; it just takes its time about it.

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