Paul Bryant's Reviews > Faggots

Faggots by Larry Kramer
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's review
Dec 23, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: modern-classic, novels, i-laughed-how-i-laughed

I wonder why I never reviewed Faggots before? Oh, that's right, I was scared to! Because if I recommend it very strongly, which I would very much like to do, and people here actually give it a go, I might end up with swathes of people defriending me on the spot and writing rude comments on my profile. So : don't read this if you have a nervous disposition. Please! Because Larry Kramer will discombobulate your psychosexual equilibrium. He will make you boggle, along the lines of do guys really do that? followed swiftly by can guys really do that?? oh my - pass the smelling salts, Ethel.

This is a pre-Aids novel which hilariously satirised fast-track New York gay life in the 70s. You laugh, you cringe, you may barf, and you end up really liking most of these guys. I mean - the fun they had! The drugs they took! But larry actually wanted them to STOP! RIGHT NOW! or at least SLOOOOW DOWWWWN. He was the lone voice saying to gay men - this hectic crazy unlimited drugs&sex&discoballs lifestyle is gonna hit a brick wall soon. Larry didn't know what the brick wall would be, he just felt it in his bones. All his pals though he was just mean old party pooper Larry. Only a few short years after Faggots was published, along came Aids, and Larry was like hate to say this guys but I told you so and they were all aw shit Larry, you so did, you jerk. So Larry became a big Aids campaigner and wrote a play called
The Normal Heart which was not that good but got a lot of attention and he became a polemicist, fighting several good fights. And he's still alive!

Back to Faggots. Here’s a quote from the author:

"The straight world thought I was repulsive, and the gay world treated me like a traitor. People would literally turn their back when I walked by. You know what my real crime was? I put the truth in writing. That's what I do: I have told the fucking truth to everyone I have ever met."

If you read this novel, which as you know I’m not sure you should, it depends, you will see why it produced such an uproar. It’s merciless. It’s excruciating. Gay men are not shown in a good light. They are shown to be shallow, vain, and like a lot of well-dressed bunny-rabbits who’ve been reading too much Marquis de Sade for their own good. I didn’t know any of this stuff when I read it, and I can see why they might want straight people not to know this stuff. These days, thirty years on from the late 70s, maybe people do know this stuff, but maybe not as well. So it still might shock.

But it’s funny. It made me howl. And shudder. And howl. So, give it fifty pages. Page 47 might be the deal-breaker.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Velvetink (new) - added it

Velvetink I picked this up recently, on my to-read pile.

Paul Bryant Let us know what you make of it!

message 3: by Praj (last edited Dec 23, 2010 05:31AM) (new)

Praj You sold this one to me,Paul:)

Paul Bryant After that one, you have to check out Eighty-Sixed by David Feinberg....

Not that I'm trying to direct your reading or anything!

message 5: by Velvetink (new) - added it

Velvetink I've quickly browsed it, & thought it sounded pretty truthful to 1978 - a time that now many put a rosy gloss on.

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