Synopses & Reviews
"In this thorough study of the infamous American author, journalist Teeman, making his full-length debut, paints a complex portrait of a gay icon who eschewed the word most often used to describe his proclivities. As Teeman summarizes, 'how felt about his own sexuality, the reality of that sexuality and where it intersected with his writing, ambition, and politics are the foundation of this book.' Teeman focuses on his subject's numerous ambiguities and contradictions, most perpetrated and encouraged by the man himself, his apparent self-loathing, his contrary nature, and in doing so, shows readers a man who defied convention at every point and refused to accept labels. Teeman returns to that theme often enough that it becomes repetitive; a few chapters in, and it's clear that Vidal, who was never likely to embrace his homosexuality in public, had a love-hate relationship with sex and identity. As for his supposed bisexuality, his encounters with women were apparently 'inconclusive, barely convincing attempt at homosexuality.' Teeman's research, extensively drawn from articles and personal interviews, as well as talking with Vidal himself, showcases the subject with an unbiased sympathy, for good and bad. As he puts it, 'Vidal dies as he lived trickily, complicatedly, stubbornly, but with love around him despite his best attempts to ward it off.' Perhaps not the perfect Vidal biography, focused as it is on his sexual side, but a worthy look at a fascinating figure. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.