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The Night Listener

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  4,537 Ratings  ·  330 Reviews
"I'm a fabulist by trade," warns Gabriel Noone, a late-night radio storyteller, as he begins to untangle the skeins of his tumultuous life: his crumbling ten-year love affair, his disaffection from his Southern father, his longtime weakness for ignoring reality. Gabriel's most sympathetic listener is Pete Lomax, a thirteen-year-old fan in Wisconsin whose own horrific past ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published September 18th 2001 by Harper Perennial (first published 2000)
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Paul Jr. Not really that I could see. I took the name "Noone"as somewhat thematically taken from the words "no one." Don't know if that was the intent, but it…moreNot really that I could see. I took the name "Noone"as somewhat thematically taken from the words "no one." Don't know if that was the intent, but it fit for me. My favorite of all of Maupin's novels.(less)

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Paul Jr.
Originally reviewed for Uniquely Pleasurable.

First, a disclaimer. This review covers the original publication of the novel and not the movie-tie in version. The movie varies substantially (and is really rather dreadful) from the original novel and it is unknown if the tie-in version of the novel was rewritten to incorporate new information and/or details found in the movie.

The novel The Night Listener is Maupin’s fictional take on his interaction with Anthony Godby Johnson, a “young boy” who was
Jul 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, thriller
After reading the book, I'm not sure why the trailers for the movie tried to pass it off as a thriller - it's not creepy or scary or anything. It's a mind puzzle and a mystery, but I guess Hollywood thinks its audience won't enjoy something cerebral (they did the same thing with Stephen King's Secret Window; its advertising campaign puzzles me to this day).

The neatest thing about the book is that it's based on something that actually happened to the author. The copy of the book I have contains
Okay. Within the first five pages, it became apparent that this book was about storytelling and truth and falsehood and embellishment. Not only does the narrator, Gabriel Noone, tell the reader this point blank, but Armistead Maupin tells us that himself, by making the parallels between himself and his main character extremely easy to draw. Okay, we think, here we have an equivalent Armistead Maupin, who has written an equivalent Tales of the City series, in which equivalent characters act out a ...more
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt
I thought I knew what to expect from this book, and how it would resolve itself, because I knew that it was based loosely on Maupin's relationship with Anthony Godby Johnson, the teenage boy who wrote the memoir "A Rock and a Hard Place," a book I read and which affected me quite a bit both when I read it and when I found out years later that it might all have been a hoax. Lots of famous people were taken in by the possibly non-existent Johnson, including Maupin and author Paul Monette.

I was not
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This might have got 5 stars if it hadn't been for the ending. Once I picked it up, I couldn't bear tom put it down, I became so engrossed in the plotline and the mystery as to whether or not this boy really existed. For me, fiction is at its best when the characters speak to something inside you and you can empathise with them and they become real. You don't have to LIKE them, but you have to care about what happens. I don't have to have everything tied up and bundled into a neat little parcel, ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
recensione con premessa
(avvertenza: la seguente premessa non riguarda direttamente il libro; chi la vuole saltare non perderà niente, se non la mia avvincente prosa).
sono una golosa impenitente. adoro le lasagne, il tiramisù. i maccheroncini pasticciati, la polenta, la cioccolata, il gelato, la frutta, i tortellini, tutte le peggio cose. Per trovare qualcosa che non mi piace dovreste addentrarvi nei torvi reparti dei cibi salutisti. Il risultato è ovvio: fallimento totale della prova costume,
A psychological drama (billed as a psychological thriller, but definitely not a thriller in my opinion) that's equal parts weird and mundane. Gabriel Noone, a writer who has gained fame through a radio serialisation of his stories, is sent a copy of a harrowing memoir written by a young boy who has suffered serious sexual abuse and is dying of AIDS. Moved by the story, he starts to talk to the boy, Pete, on the phone and the two develop a close relationship, seeing themselves as father and son. ...more
Mikael Kuoppala
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Night Listener” is a very good example of how a mystery novel can shine without creepy settings and dark characters in action packed storylines. This is a deeply moving, quiet and very emotional mystery that builds its enchanting plot lines with subtlety. It prevails by keeping the main focus on wonderfully depicted character interaction.

There isn’t all that much story to the novel in fact, but still it feels like a very quick, compact read. This is mostly due to Maupin’s talent as a storyt
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not one of the Tales of the City books but equally brilliant. A real mystery and a great ending, about which I will say no more.
Shelley Eriksen
Menh. Found the writing lacked any sparkle, and the neediness of the protagonist was a turn-off. I'm all for the wounded/fucked-up narrator, but Noone felt like an emotional hypochondriac. I'd heard Maupin was a clever and entertaining writer but found the asides and humor just... twee. Jejeune, even.
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wanneer 'n mens 'n stromende verkoue het (oë tranerige jellie, neus 'n waterval, ens), is lees mos 'n onmoontlikheid, 'n straf. Jy wag tot jy sterker voel voor jy jou bedrus daarvoor begin gebruik. Maar dit is slegs waar as jy die verkeerde boek in die hande het: ten spyte van die swaarste verkoue in maande het Maupin se THE NIGHT LISTENER my saans uit die slaap gehou, my snags besig gehou wanneer ek ongemaklik wakker word, en my in my energielose toestand voortgedryf tot ek die roman van 344 bl ...more
Sarah Cypher
I admit it: I've come late to Armistead Maupin. I've never read Tales of the City, nor his short stories. It's always an uncertain endeavor, beginning to read an author by picking up one of his most postmodern, meta-fictional novels. But give me 1,738.4 miles of highway and the wide-open Mojave Desert to cross, and y'know, I'll read just about anything.

Imagine how lucky I felt, then, when The Night Listener engaged me so much that I soldiered through it despite my signature bouts of motion sickn
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I found this book to be slow burning, and not in a bad way at all. It was a book where nothing specific happens, but a story is told, a growth, like a coming-of-age story despite the main protagonist being 55 years old.

Yes this book was about a gay guy, but although technically it could be called gay fiction and there is a lot of I guess sexist issues in the book it is one where the gay guy isn't overtly gay. he seems normal and as such this book is able to be read without that pre assumed thin
Vicki Jarrett
I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Maupin’s Tales of the City series. I loved them – but that WAS quite a few years ago, maybe I’m just older and more cynical but this felt more manipulative than his earlier work. I always loved his easy style and intimate confessional tone, and that was all still there and still very enjoyable. But it all seemed a little weary and the confessions trotted out as if to order rather than offered with an open heart. The ending was also kind of unresolved ...more
Jul 18, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard good reports about this book and I read about 100 pages and it seemed ok but then it started to get weird and it lost me.

Back Cover Blurb:
Gabriel Noone is a writer whose late-night radio stories have brought him into the homes of millions. Noone is in the midst of a painful separation from his lover of ten years, when a publisher sends him the memoir of a thirteen-year-old boy who suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his parents.
Pete Lomax is not only a brave and gifted diarist bu
Rena Sherwood
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Sadly, the story behind The Night Listener is more interesting than this book. The one night stand affair with a trucker just came out of nowhere and did not add to the overall story -- although it winds up being one of the most memorable bits of the book. Thanks for that mental image, Mr. Maupin.


This edition is under the wrong impression that The Night Listener is a major book of the the twentieth century. It ends with pages and pages of interviews with Maupin and making of the mostly forgotten
May 10, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Maupin Fans
I wasn't particularly thrilled with the book. It wasn't creepy to me, or exciting much. There were some moments that got intense, and I did find out more about sexual subcultures which is great, outside of these facts I didn't enjoy the book. I found myself sighing and rolling my eyes alot. This could be due to the sad break-up situation the character is facing and my inability at this point in my life, to empathize. Cry cry cry okay I get it you're sad and you're reaching out to anyone who will ...more
I actually liked the movie much better than the book. It was creepier and weirder, whereas the book was rather annoying. This is a fictionalized account of something real that happened to the author, but Maupin emphasized more his relationship with his ex-boyfriend and his father. I found him to be very whiny and annoying. The book also had what I consider a "trick" ending in which I felt duped and deceived, and irritated. The writing is okay, but I wouldn't recommend the book. See the movie ins ...more
Jan 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the only book by this author that I've read and the reason I read it is because I bought it so I could get it autographed by the author for my friend Jerry in Tulsa. Shout out to Tulsa!!! The author was nice when I told him I hadn't read any of his books but would kindly appreciate if he signed "to Jerry"

Anywhoozle, the book is good. It's well-paced and not-too-deep entertainment. It's kind of dark, but not too much. I also like that there's never really any firm conclusion stated about
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this when it came out, over a dozen years ago. I enjoyed it a lot more this time around, and I'm trying to figure out why. Perhaps it's because I've grown up a bit and can empathize somewhat with people who have nurturing/parenting urges. Or maybe I loved it more this time because the audio book was such a fun listen (Armistead read it himself in his ever-so-charming voice). It's a strange, mysterious journey, a story of an unlikely friendship and learning to view the world outside ...more
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Three stars seems oddly too high for this book, so take my 2 stars to mean 2.5ish. I really couldn't say it was in the slightest bit believeable nor particularly gripping. The only thing keeping me reading at points was an inability to sleep on my part.

Firstly, speaking as someone with some knowledge of the profession of psychologists and someone also aware of child protection protocols, there's a whole lot of suspension of disbelief required for this story.

I have to admit it's pretty passable
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful and moving book about loneliness that touched me very, very deeply. The psychological depth is profound. I still ache when I think of it.

Hollywood should be ashamed of how badly the butchered this amazing book--Robin William was perfect casting, but the screenplay was atrocious.
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, month-06
This is a wonderful book, one of the few where you are less than halfway through and already don't want it to end.
It's all the more poignant knowing that the character of Gabriel is but a cypher for Maupin himself and the book his own catharsis following divorce.
Nov 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much better, IMO, than the Tales from the City, though I liked them too. There was just some really good twists and I loved the POV character.
Dec 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A vivid and haunting novel. I liked it much better than the movie.
A Good Quote: "Nothing had ever met my expectations, since nothing could compete with my doctoring imagination, my pathetic compulsion to make the world quainter, funner, kinder, and more mysterious than it actually was" (Maupin, 242).

Armistead Maupin took an experience from his own life, fictionalized it, and offered the world an intriguing story about a young troubled boy who finds solace in the voice of a male radio-show host. The book begins with an in-depth view of both the young boy and t
Julie Round
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
I really enjoyed this book in spite of the fact that I would never have chosen the subject matter.
It just shows that an interesting person is an interesting person no matter what their sex life is like.
Gabriel was so believable and the story raced to a perfect conclusion. I got the book from a charity shop as I had finished all my library books. I'll be interested to read the other reviews. Great.
Harry Wingfield
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I read online that it is loosely based on a series of events in the author's own life. Since I related so closely to the main character, that must mean I have a lot in common with the author, Armistead Maupin. I don't mind that at all. I have thoroughly enjoyed all his writing.
Philippa Leah
I re-read this straight after Logical Family (and seeing Armistead talking about his life) - I may as well have re-read the memoir, as the stories were basically the same. It was a very strange experience! The central premise remains odd and unresolved, and the autobiographical details weirdly felt like ‘cheating’ once I’d read the memoir...
uno scrittore gay, una relazione in crisi e un bambino malato misterioso. dietro questa trama si nascondono domande esistenziali su chi siamo e se esistiamo soltanto in relazione a chi ci circonda.
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Armistead Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam.

Maupin worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. In 19
More about Armistead Maupin...
“Pete thinks we all have a blacking factory: some awful moment, early on, when we surrender our childish hearts as surely as we lose our baby teeth.” 4 likes
“I don't see myself very clearly.
Then look at the people who love you...Look into their eyes and see what they're seeing; that's all you need to know yourself.”
More quotes…