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City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and '70s

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ISBN13: 9781596914025
ISBN10: 1596914025
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Review-A-Day

"White's account of New York's artistic milieu at a time when the city was an abandoned and dangerous grab bag of vagabonds and aristocrats ('As Stan used to say, "Half the people in New York if they were anywhere else would be either interviewed or arrested"') sparkles with the anecdotes that make his novels so vivid and with the incredible range of famous people he has known." Benjamin Moser, Harper's Magazine (read the entire Harper's review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An irresistible literary treat: a memoir of the social and sexual lives of New York Citys cultural and intellectual in-crowd in the tumultuous 1970s, from acclaimed author Edmund White.

In the New Y ork of the 1970s, in the wake of Stonewall and in the midst of economic collapse, you might find the likes of Jasper Johns and William Burroughs at the next cocktail party, and you were as likely to be caught arguing Marx at the New York City Ballet as cruising for sex in the warehouses and parked trucks along the Hudson. This is the New York that Edmund White portrays in City Boy: a place of enormous intrigue and artistic tumult. Combining the no-holds-barred confession and yearning of A Boys Own Story with the easy erudition and sense of place of The Flaneur, this is the story of Whites years in 1970s New York, bouncing from intellectual encounters with Susan Sontag and Harold Brodkey to erotic entanglements downtown to the burgeoning gay scene of artists and writers. I ts a moving, candid, brilliant portrait of a time and place, full of encounters with famous names and cultural icons.

An esteemed novelist and cultural critic, Edmund White is the author of many books, including the autobiographical novel A Boys Own Story; a previous memoir, My Lives; and most recently a biography of poet Arthur Rimbaud. White lives in New York City and teaches writing at Princeton University.

A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

In the tumultuous 1970s, in the wake of Stonewall and in the midst of economic collapse, any culturally and intellectually curious New Yorker might encounter Jasper Johns and William Burroughs at a cocktail party, and one was just as likely to spend an evening arguing Marx at the New York City Ballet, as cruising for sex in the warehouses and parked trucks along the Hudson. This is the New York that Edmund White portrays in City Boy: a place of enormous intrigue and artistic activity.

 
Combining the no-holds-barred confession and yearning of A Boys Own Story with the easy erudition and sense of place of The Flaneur, this is the story of Whites years in 1970s New York, bouncing from intellectual encounters with Susan Sontag and Harold Brodkey to erotic entanglements downtown to the burgeoning gay scene of artists and writers. Its a moving, candid, brilliant portrait of a time and place, full of encounters with famous names and cultural icons.
“[A] moving chronicle . . . that peacocks tail, those stags antlers—theyre here, to be sure, but so are vulnerability, doubt,failure and long years toiling at the sort of cruddy day jobs that most literary writers know all too well . . . In City Boy, White is amusing and raucous as ever but he also lets the mask slip . . . his losses and struggles, as consequence, seems less sculpted, but more real . . . Some stories dont need to be embellished to glow.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
"An open-throttled tour of New York City during the bad old days of the 1960s and early '70s . . . it's all here in exacting and eye-popping detail . . . There is a great deal of sex and gossip in City Boy, but it is also a minor-key account of Mr. White's coming of age as a writer . . . City Boy is Mr. White's second memoir in three years, and a great deal of his fiction has been autobiographical. You get the sense of a writer slowly peeling his life like an artichoke, letting only a few stray leaves go at a time . . . This one is salty and buttery, for sure. Mr. White's 'Oh, come on, guys' sleekness has vanished into thin air."—The New York Times
 
"Chronicl[es] Gothams cultural highs and lows during those two heady and iconic decades . . .
fleshing out our notion of how vital a period the 60s and 70s were . . . Since White is a born raconteur, his gimlet-eyed anecdotes about celebrities of the era are as tangy as blood orange sorbet served after lobster Thermidor . . . [he] matches his talent for journalism with brilliant imagistic prose."—Gay City News

"City Boy is an amazing memoir of Whites hunger for literary fame—for publication even—and intellectual esteem in the superheated creative world of 60s and 70s New York. His sketches of writers and artists, including everyone from poets James Merrill and John Ashbery to artist Robert Wilson and editor Robert Gottlieb, are full of bon mots, sharply observed details, and great honesty about his own desires for love and esteem. City Boy vividly brings to life the sheer squalor of life in 1970s New York . . . A wonderful raconteur with a well-stocked fund of anecdotes and observations, Whites writings reveal much about alliances, alignments, and personalities from a vanished world that still echo strongly in our own."—This Week in New York

"[An] exuberant, thoughtful memoir. Arriving in 1962 and determined to be famous, [Edmund White] found a job in publishing and got to work on his dream. Away from the office, he dedicated his energy to meeting people (some famous, some not) and, of course, having sex with lots and lots of men. Ambition, amphetamines, neurosis and an era when New York vibrated with desire combined for heady times in his young life . . . White wrestled with self-acceptance as he pursued therapy to reorient himself for a (never-to-be) heterosexual marriage; he admits he was so consumed with internalized self-loathing that he didn't have a clear idea of how he looked. Others, however, did not miss the handsome, eager man in all his '60s and '70s glory, and he made friends easily. White's affectionate yet candid portraits of literary celebrities Richard Howard, Harold Brodkey and Susan Sontag celebrate those friendships, with the eminences coming across as quite distinct from their forbidding public personas, even lovable. White got around in less elevated circles too. He saw a lifetime of scandalous acting out that bubbles up in passing remarks like, 'When gay men say in their personals, 'No drama queens, please,' they are trying to avoid someone like Coleman.' Sparkling cameo appearances by the likes of Truman Capote, Robert Mapplethorpe and Fran Lebowitz expand the feeling that artistic Manhattan then was a very different place than it is today. All fun aside, the gadabout boulevardier at some point had to take a back seat to the fiercely ambitious emerging writer. White's vivid analysis of his artistic struggles and literary progress during these years is like a master class for other writers. As he notes, the years of uncertainty helped him develop and refine his themes, otherwise he 'would never have turned toward writing with a burning desire to confess, to understand, to justify myself in the eyes of others.' Many readers of his landmark novel, A Boy's Own Story, will sit up at attention when he links his goal of writing 'a modern tragedy in which there were two choices and both were bad' to Anglo-Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen. That like-minded connection to Bowen also serves to explain his insistence that any truly satisfying work of literature must embrace a mysterious element of charm. Let it be known that White's memoir takes that lesson to heart and has charm to burn."—John McFarland, Shelf Awareness

"A graceful memoir of a decidedly ungraceful time in the life of New York City . . . A welcome portrait of a time and place long past, and much yearned for."—Kirkus Reviews

“A colorfully detailed remembrance . . . with his novelists brilliance in turns of phrase in evoking these places, [White] also recalls the many celebrated writers he encountered over the years in his slow climb to writerly success. A special invitation to a world gone by.”—Booklist

“Novelist and critic White weaves erotic encounters and long-ago literati into a vast tapestry of Manhattan memories . . . How he overcame setbacks and confronted his insecurities to eventually write 23 books makes for fascinating reading . . . White writes with a simple, fluid style, and beneath his patina of pain, a refreshing honesty emerges. This is a brilliant recreation of an era, rich in revels, revolutions and ‘leather boys leading the human tidal wave.”—Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Novelist and critic White (A Boy's Own Story; The Joy of Gay Sex) weaves erotic encounters and long-ago literati into a vast tapestry of Manhattan memories. He arrived from the Midwest in 1962, worked at Time-Life Books, haunted the Gotham Book Mart and went street cruising: 'We had to seek out most of our men on the hoof.' In 1970, he quit his job to live in Rome, returning to find 'sexual abundance' in New York. An editor with Saturday Review and Horizon, White knew artists, writers and poets, yet his own writing remained at the starting gate. He fictionalized Fire Island rituals for his first novel, Forgetting Elena (1971), which took years to find a publisher and then sold only 600 copies. Nabokov later labeled it 'a marvelous book,' ranking White along with Updike and Robbe-Grillet. His second novel, about hetero/homosexual friendships, was never published, yet he 'longed for literary celebrity.' How he overcame setbacks and confronted his insecurities to eventually write 23 books makes for fascinating reading. Along the way, he notes how Fun City became Fear City with the AIDS crisis, and he recalls meeting everyone from Borges, Burroughs and Capote to Peggy Guggenheim, John Ashbery, Susan Sontag, Robert Mapplethorpe and Jasper Johns. White writes with a simple, fluid style, and beneath his patina of pain, a refreshing honesty emerges. This is a brilliant recreation of an era, rich in revels, revolutions and 'leather boys leading the human tidal wave.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

City Boy tells the story of White's years in 1970s New York, bouncing from intellectual encounters with Susan Sontag and Harold Brodkey to his erotic entanglements downtown to the city's burgeoning gay scene of artists and writers.

Synopsis:

Groundbreaking literary icon Edmund White reflects on his remarkable life in New York in an era when the city was economically devastated but incandescent with art and ideas. White struggles to gain literary recognition, witnesses the rise of the gay rights movement, and has memorable encounters with luminaries from Elizabeth Bishop to William Burroughs, Susan Sontag to Jasper Johns. Recording his ambitions and desires, recalling lovers and literary heroes, White displays the wit, candor, and generosity that have defined his unique voice over the decades.

Synopsis:

An irresistible literary treat: a memoir of the social and sexual lives of New York City's cultural and intellectual in-crowd in the tumultuous 1970s, from acclaimed author Edmund White.

In the New Y ork of the 1970s, in the wake of Stonewall and in the midst of economic collapse, you might find the likes of Jasper Johns and William Burroughs at the next cocktail party, and you were as likely to be caught arguing Marx at the New York City Ballet as cruising for sex in the warehouses and parked trucks along the Hudson. This is the New York that Edmund White portrays in City Boy: a place of enormous intrigue and artistic tumult. Combining the no-holds-barred confession and yearning of A Boy's Own Story with the easy erudition and sense of place of The Flaneur, this is the story of White's years in 1970s New York, bouncing from intellectual encounters with Susan Sontag and Harold Brodkey to erotic entanglements downtown to the burgeoning gay scene of artists and writers. I t's a moving, candid, brilliant portrait of a time and place, full of encounters with famous names and cultural icons. An esteemed novelist and cultural critic, Edmund White is the author of many books, including the autobiographical novel A Boy's Own Story; a previous memoir, My Lives; and most recently a biography of poet Arthur Rimbaud. White lives in New York City and teaches writing at Princeton University.

A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

In the tumultuous 1970s, in the wake of Stonewall and in the midst of economic collapse, any culturally and intellectually curious New Yorker might encounter Jasper Johns and William Burroughs at a cocktail party, and one was just as likely to spend an evening arguing Marx at the New York City Ballet, as cruising for sex in the warehouses and parked trucks along the Hudson. This is the New York that Edmund White portrays in City Boy: a place of enormous intrigue and artistic activity. Combining the no-holds-barred confession and yearning of A Boy's Own Story with the easy erudition and sense of place of The Flaneur, this is the story of White's years in 1970s New York, bouncing from intellectual encounters with Susan Sontag and Harold Brodkey to erotic entanglements downtown to the burgeoning gay scene of artists and writers. It's a moving, candid, brilliant portrait of a time and place, full of encounters with famous names and cultural icons. A] moving chronicle . . . that peacock's tail, those stag's antlers--they're here, to be sure, but so are vulnerability, doubt, failure and long years toiling at the sort of cruddy day jobs that most literary writers know all too well . . . In City Boy, White is amusing and raucous as ever but he also lets the mask slip . . . his losses and struggles, as consequence, seems less sculpted, but more real . . . Some stories don't need to be embellished to glow.--The New York Times Book Review An open-throttled tour of New York City during the bad old days of the 1960s and early '70s . . . it's all here in exacting and eye-popping detail . . . There is a great deal of sex and gossip in City Boy, but it is also a minor-key account of Mr. White's coming of age as a writer . . . City Boy is Mr. White's second memoir in three years, and a great deal of his fiction has been autobiographical. You get the sense of a writer slowly peeling his life like an artichoke, letting only a few stray leaves go at a time . . . This one is salty and buttery, for sure. Mr. White's 'Oh, come on, guys' sleekness has vanished into thin air.--The New York Times Chronicl es] Gotham's cultural highs and lows during those two heady and iconic decades . . . fleshing out our notion of how vital a period the '60s and '70s were . . . Since White is a born raconteur, his gimlet-eyed anecdotes about celebrities of the era are as tangy as blood orange sorbet served after lobster Thermidor . . . he] matches his talent for journalism with brilliant imagistic prose.--Gay City News

City Boy is an amazing memoir of White's hunger for literary fame--for publication even--and intellectual esteem in the superheated creative world of '60s and '70s New York. His sketches of writers and artists, including everyone from poets James Merrill and John Ashbery to artist Robert Wilson and editor Robert Gottlieb, are full of bon mots, sharply observed details, and great honesty about his own desires for love and esteem. City Boy vividly brings to life the sheer squalor of life in 1970s New York . . . A wonderful raconteur with a well-stocked fund of anecdotes and observations, White's writings reveal much about alliances, alignments, and personalities from a vanished world that still echo strongly in our own.--This Week in New York

An] exuberant, thoughtful memoir. Arriving in 1962 and determined to be famous, Edmund White] found a job in publishing and got to work on his dream. Away from the office, he dedicated his energy to meeting people (some famous, some not) and, of course, having sex with lots and lots of men. Ambition, amphetamines, neurosis and an era when New York vibrated with desire combined for heady times in his young life . . . White wrestled with self-acceptance as he pursued therapy to reorient himself for a (never-to-be) heterosexual marriage; he admits he was so consumed with internalized self-loathing that he didn't have a clear idea of how he looked. Others, however, did not miss the handsome, eager man in all his '60s and '70s glory, and he made friends easily. White's affectionate yet candid portraits of literary celebrities Richard Howard, Harold Brodkey and Susan Sontag celebrate those friendships, with the eminences coming across as quite distinct from their forbidding public personas, even lovable. White got around in less elevated circles too. He saw a lifetime of scandalous acting out that bubbles up in passing remarks like, 'When gay men say in their personals, 'No drama queens, please, ' they

About the Author

An esteemed novelist and cultural critic, Edmund White is the author of many books, including the autobiographical novel A Boy's Own Story; a previous memoir, My Lives; and most recently a biography of poet Arthur Rimbaud. White lives in New York City and teaches writing at Princeton University.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Grady Harp, June 9, 2010 (view all comments by Grady Harp)
A Commentary on a Period Becomes a Novel

For openers to readers who opt to add another book by Edmund White to their library comes this quotation from John Irving: 'Edmund White, a master of the erotic confession, is our most accomplished triathlete of prose - a novelist, biographer, and memoirist. Truly, no other American writer of my generation manages to be all three with such personal passion and veracity.' Strong praise from one of the country's finest writers, but in this reader's opinion, well earned. CITY BOY contains every aspect of what we have grown to expect - and yet be consistently surprised at his constancy - from White. His novels - 'A Boy's Own Story', 'The Farewell Symphony', 'The Beautiful Room is Empty', 'The Married Man', 'Hotel de Dream' etc - his well researched, highly regarded biographies - 'Genet', 'Marcel Proust', 'Rimbaud', etc - and his essays and thoughtful meanderings - 'The Darker Proof', 'The Flâneur', 'My Lives', etc - are always delivered with some of the most elegant prose being written today. And the same goes of CITY BOY.

Edmund White shares life in that pointedly transitional period of the 1960s and 1970s, a time when the country and especially New York City grappled with the unpopular war in Vietnam and the equally unpopular rise of the gay liberation movement. White was present for Stonewall and relates the atmosphere of the streets and the population both before and after. And as if this weren't enough history to essay he adds the changes that were happening in the fields of the arts and of literature. Using a bit of reality as a clever way to focus on the transformation of New York, White shares his experiences with his travels abroad to Italy: his commentary on the rich and famous of Venice, especially the strange creature that was Peggy Guggenheim, is peppered with incidents and alterations of the influences of world events on the people who chronicled them. As part of this memoirization of the times he includes his own frustrations of having his first novel published and the subsequent growth in stature as a writer that he enjoyed.

New York changed during this time, for better and for worse, and at the end of the book Edmund White touches on the plague of AIDS that would once again metamorphose the his city and his world. White's gift is to find the balance between sharing information, relate rollicking tales, and find both sides of the masks of comedy and tragedy and present the entire picture for the audience's musing. He is a classy writer, one that never lets the reader down.

Grady Harp
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Frank Pizzoli, August 14, 2009 (view all comments by Frank Pizzoli)
I had the pleasure of interviewing Edmund White in his Chelsea apartment for Lambda Book Report, Summer 2007. Besides reviewing his "Chaos, A Novella and Stories," he vigorously answered questions about 1970s NYC, pre- and post-AIDS, the subject of his newest book "City Boy".

Friendly and down to earth (he made us a pot of his favorite tea and served it himself with dried fruit), he is sleepless in his enthusism for his many projects. I felt immediately comfortable in his living room and I'm sure readers, whether from the 1970s era or younger, will feel that same accessibilty. Edmund White Interview available upon request from fpizzoli@aol.com
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781596914025
Author:
White, Edmund
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Subject:
Authors, American -- 20th century.
Subject:
Nineteen sixties
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

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Biography » Literary
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Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » General
Gay and Lesbian » History and Social Science » History and Biographies

City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and '70s Used Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781596914025 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Novelist and critic White (A Boy's Own Story; The Joy of Gay Sex) weaves erotic encounters and long-ago literati into a vast tapestry of Manhattan memories. He arrived from the Midwest in 1962, worked at Time-Life Books, haunted the Gotham Book Mart and went street cruising: 'We had to seek out most of our men on the hoof.' In 1970, he quit his job to live in Rome, returning to find 'sexual abundance' in New York. An editor with Saturday Review and Horizon, White knew artists, writers and poets, yet his own writing remained at the starting gate. He fictionalized Fire Island rituals for his first novel, Forgetting Elena (1971), which took years to find a publisher and then sold only 600 copies. Nabokov later labeled it 'a marvelous book,' ranking White along with Updike and Robbe-Grillet. His second novel, about hetero/homosexual friendships, was never published, yet he 'longed for literary celebrity.' How he overcame setbacks and confronted his insecurities to eventually write 23 books makes for fascinating reading. Along the way, he notes how Fun City became Fear City with the AIDS crisis, and he recalls meeting everyone from Borges, Burroughs and Capote to Peggy Guggenheim, John Ashbery, Susan Sontag, Robert Mapplethorpe and Jasper Johns. White writes with a simple, fluid style, and beneath his patina of pain, a refreshing honesty emerges. This is a brilliant recreation of an era, rich in revels, revolutions and 'leather boys leading the human tidal wave.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "White's account of New York's artistic milieu at a time when the city was an abandoned and dangerous grab bag of vagabonds and aristocrats ('As Stan used to say, "Half the people in New York if they were anywhere else would be either interviewed or arrested"') sparkles with the anecdotes that make his novels so vivid and with the incredible range of famous people he has known." (read the entire Harper's review)
"Synopsis" by , City Boy tells the story of White's years in 1970s New York, bouncing from intellectual encounters with Susan Sontag and Harold Brodkey to his erotic entanglements downtown to the city's burgeoning gay scene of artists and writers.
"Synopsis" by ,

Groundbreaking literary icon Edmund White reflects on his remarkable life in New York in an era when the city was economically devastated but incandescent with art and ideas. White struggles to gain literary recognition, witnesses the rise of the gay rights movement, and has memorable encounters with luminaries from Elizabeth Bishop to William Burroughs, Susan Sontag to Jasper Johns. Recording his ambitions and desires, recalling lovers and literary heroes, White displays the wit, candor, and generosity that have defined his unique voice over the decades.

"Synopsis" by , An irresistible literary treat: a memoir of the social and sexual lives of New York City's cultural and intellectual in-crowd in the tumultuous 1970s, from acclaimed author Edmund White.

In the New Y ork of the 1970s, in the wake of Stonewall and in the midst of economic collapse, you might find the likes of Jasper Johns and William Burroughs at the next cocktail party, and you were as likely to be caught arguing Marx at the New York City Ballet as cruising for sex in the warehouses and parked trucks along the Hudson. This is the New York that Edmund White portrays in City Boy: a place of enormous intrigue and artistic tumult. Combining the no-holds-barred confession and yearning of A Boy's Own Story with the easy erudition and sense of place of The Flaneur, this is the story of White's years in 1970s New York, bouncing from intellectual encounters with Susan Sontag and Harold Brodkey to erotic entanglements downtown to the burgeoning gay scene of artists and writers. I t's a moving, candid, brilliant portrait of a time and place, full of encounters with famous names and cultural icons. An esteemed novelist and cultural critic, Edmund White is the author of many books, including the autobiographical novel A Boy's Own Story; a previous memoir, My Lives; and most recently a biography of poet Arthur Rimbaud. White lives in New York City and teaches writing at Princeton University.

A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

In the tumultuous 1970s, in the wake of Stonewall and in the midst of economic collapse, any culturally and intellectually curious New Yorker might encounter Jasper Johns and William Burroughs at a cocktail party, and one was just as likely to spend an evening arguing Marx at the New York City Ballet, as cruising for sex in the warehouses and parked trucks along the Hudson. This is the New York that Edmund White portrays in City Boy: a place of enormous intrigue and artistic activity. Combining the no-holds-barred confession and yearning of A Boy's Own Story with the easy erudition and sense of place of The Flaneur, this is the story of White's years in 1970s New York, bouncing from intellectual encounters with Susan Sontag and Harold Brodkey to erotic entanglements downtown to the burgeoning gay scene of artists and writers. It's a moving, candid, brilliant portrait of a time and place, full of encounters with famous names and cultural icons. A] moving chronicle . . . that peacock's tail, those stag's antlers--they're here, to be sure, but so are vulnerability, doubt, failure and long years toiling at the sort of cruddy day jobs that most literary writers know all too well . . . In City Boy, White is amusing and raucous as ever but he also lets the mask slip . . . his losses and struggles, as consequence, seems less sculpted, but more real . . . Some stories don't need to be embellished to glow.--The New York Times Book Review An open-throttled tour of New York City during the bad old days of the 1960s and early '70s . . . it's all here in exacting and eye-popping detail . . . There is a great deal of sex and gossip in City Boy, but it is also a minor-key account of Mr. White's coming of age as a writer . . . City Boy is Mr. White's second memoir in three years, and a great deal of his fiction has been autobiographical. You get the sense of a writer slowly peeling his life like an artichoke, letting only a few stray leaves go at a time . . . This one is salty and buttery, for sure. Mr. White's 'Oh, come on, guys' sleekness has vanished into thin air.--The New York Times Chronicl es] Gotham's cultural highs and lows during those two heady and iconic decades . . . fleshing out our notion of how vital a period the '60s and '70s were . . . Since White is a born raconteur, his gimlet-eyed anecdotes about celebrities of the era are as tangy as blood orange sorbet served after lobster Thermidor . . . he] matches his talent for journalism with brilliant imagistic prose.--Gay City News

City Boy is an amazing memoir of White's hunger for literary fame--for publication even--and intellectual esteem in the superheated creative world of '60s and '70s New York. His sketches of writers and artists, including everyone from poets James Merrill and John Ashbery to artist Robert Wilson and editor Robert Gottlieb, are full of bon mots, sharply observed details, and great honesty about his own desires for love and esteem. City Boy vividly brings to life the sheer squalor of life in 1970s New York . . . A wonderful raconteur with a well-stocked fund of anecdotes and observations, White's writings reveal much about alliances, alignments, and personalities from a vanished world that still echo strongly in our own.--This Week in New York

An] exuberant, thoughtful memoir. Arriving in 1962 and determined to be famous, Edmund White] found a job in publishing and got to work on his dream. Away from the office, he dedicated his energy to meeting people (some famous, some not) and, of course, having sex with lots and lots of men. Ambition, amphetamines, neurosis and an era when New York vibrated with desire combined for heady times in his young life . . . White wrestled with self-acceptance as he pursued therapy to reorient himself for a (never-to-be) heterosexual marriage; he admits he was so consumed with internalized self-loathing that he didn't have a clear idea of how he looked. Others, however, did not miss the handsome, eager man in all his '60s and '70s glory, and he made friends easily. White's affectionate yet candid portraits of literary celebrities Richard Howard, Harold Brodkey and Susan Sontag celebrate those friendships, with the eminences coming across as quite distinct from their forbidding public personas, even lovable. White got around in less elevated circles too. He saw a lifetime of scandalous acting out that bubbles up in passing remarks like, 'When gay men say in their personals, 'No drama queens, please, ' they

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