Art on Fire is the apparent biography of subversive painter Francesca deSilva, the founding foremother of "pseudorealism," who lived hard and died young. But in the tradition of Vladimir Nabokov's acclaimed novel Pale Fire, it's a fiction from start to finish. It opens with Francesca's early life. We learn about her childhood love, the chess genius Lisa Sinsong, as well as her rivalry with her brilliant sister Isabella, who publishes an acclaimed volume of poetry at the age of twelve. She compensates for the failings of her less than attentive parents by turning to her grandmother who is loyal and adoring until she learns Francesca is a lesbian, when she rejects her. Francesca flees to a ramshackle cabin in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, working weekends at the flea market. She breaks into the gloomy basement of a house, where she begins her life as a painter. Much to her confusion and even dismay, fame comes quickly.
Interspersed with Francesca's narrative are thirteen critical "essays" on the paintings of Francesca deSilva by critics, academics, and psychologists--essays that are razor-sharp satires on art, lesbian life, and the academic world, puncturing pretentiousness with every paragraph. Art on Fire is a darkly comic, pitch-perfect, and fearless satire on the very art of biography itself.
Art on Fire is the latest winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the Heekin Foundation Award, the Dana Awards, and the Story Oaks Prize. It was mistakenly awarded the nonfiction prize in the Amherst Book and Plow Competition.
The English-language premiere of Qiu Miaojin's coming-of-age novel about queer teenagers in Taiwan, a cult classic in China and winner of the 1995 China Times Literature Award. An NYRB Classics Original
Set in the post-martial-law era of late-1980s Taipei, Notes of a Crocodile is a coming-of-age story of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan's most prestigious university. Told through the eyes of an anonymous lesbian narrator nicknamed Lazi, this cult classic is a postmodern pastiche of diaries, vignettes, mash notes, aphorisms, exegesis, and satire by an incisive prose stylist and major countercultural figure. Afflicted by her fatalistic attraction to Shui Ling, an older woman, Lazi turns for support to a circle of friends that includes a rich kid turned criminal and his troubled, self-destructive gay lover, as well as a bored, mischievous overachiever and her alluring slacker artist girlfriend. Illustrating a process of liberation from the strictures of gender through radical self-inquiry, Notes of a Crocodile is a poignant masterpiece of social defiance by a singular voice in contemporary Chinese literature.
First published in 1928, this timeless portrayal of lesbian love is now a classic. The thinly disguised story of Hall's own life, it was banned outright upon publication and almost ruined her literary career.
Christine Snow, a Chicago therapist, wakes one morning to find her live-in lover gone. At first Chris thinks that Taylor has left in a funk because they fought the night before over a minor flirtation. But too many clues point to another explanation: either Taylor has left for Morocco and a mysterious woman there, or she has come to harm. Running the emotional gamut from anger to alarm, Christine anxiously tracks the course of Taylor's disappearance, only to discover that her trust in her lover may have been misplaced. Badly shaken, she begins to question her own powers of perception: if she has misread Taylor for so long, perhaps - a therapist's worst fear - she hardly knows her own mind. Bearing Anshaw's trademark style -witty, hip, with sparkling dialogue and irresistible characters - Seven Moves unveils layers of loss, discovery, and personality in a narrative that is forcefully compelling and full of jazzy spirit. As the Chicago Tribune said of Anshaw's first novel, this book" wi
Isherwood's final work of fiction--an epistolary novel that explores sexual identity and Eastern mysticism
After a long separation, two English brothers meet in India. Oliver, the idealistic younger brother, prepares to take his final vows as a Hindu monk. Patrick, a successful publisher with a wife and children in London and a male lover in California, has publicly admired his brother's convictions while privately criticizing his choices.
First published in 1967, A Meeting by the River delicately depicts the complexity of sibling relationships--the resentment and competitiveness as well as the love and respect. Ultimately, the brothers' exposure to each other's differences deepens their awareness of themselves. In A Meeting by the River, Christopher Isherwood dramatizes the conflict between sexuality and spirituality that inspired his late writings.
"The best prose writer in English." Gore Vidal
Patricia Highsmith's story of romantic obsession may be one of the most important, but still largely unrecognized, novels of the twentieth century. First published in 1952 and touted as "the novel of a love that society forbids," the book soon became a cult classic.
Based on a true story plucked from Highsmith's own life, The Price of Salt (or Carol) tells the riveting drama of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose routine is forever shattered by a gorgeous epiphany--the appearance of Carol Aird, a customer who comes in to buy her daughter a Christmas toy. Therese begins to gravitate toward the alluring suburban housewife, who is trapped in a marriage as stultifying as Therese's job. They fall in love and set out across the United States, ensnared by society's confines and the imminent disapproval of others, yet propelled by their infatuation. The Price of Salt is a brilliantly written story that may surprise Highsmith fans and will delight those discovering her work.
Sophia Willoughby, a young Englishwoman from an aristocratic family and a person of strong opinions and even stronger will, has packed her cheating husband off to Paris. He can have his tawdry mistress. She intends to devote herself to the serious business of raising her two children in proper Tory fashion.Then tragedy strikes: the children die, and Sophia, in despair, finds her way to Paris, arriving just in time for the revolution of 1848. Before long she has formed the unlikeliest of close relations with Minna, her husband's sometime mistress, whose dramatic recitations, based on her hair-raising childhood in czarist Russia, electrify audiences in drawing rooms and on the street alike. Minna, "magnanimous and unscrupulous, fickle, ardent, and interfering," leads Sophia on a wild adventure through bohemian and revolutionary Paris, in a story that reaches an unforgettable conclusion amidst the bullets, bloodshed, and hope of the barricades. Sylvia Townsend Warner was one of the most original and inventive of twentieth-century English novelists. At once an adventure story, a love story, and a novel of ideas, Summer Will Show is a brilliant reimagining of the possibilities of historical fiction.
Jane Lawless and her friend Cordelia Thorn investigate the suspicious death of a well-known TV personality who fell from the famous Foshay Tower in Minneapolis. Fans of Lawless will delight in the lesbian love interest that the story includes.
We Think the World of You combines acute social realism and dark fantasy, and was described by J.R. Ackerley as "a fairy tale for adults." Frank, the narrator, is a middle-aged civil servant, intelligent, acerbic, self-righteous, angry. He is in love with Johnny, a young, married, working-class man with a sweetly easygoing nature. When Johnny is sent to prison for committing a petty theft, Frank gets caught up in a struggle with Johnny's wife and parents for access to him. Their struggle finds a strange focus in Johnny's dog--a beautiful but neglected German shepherd named Evie. And it is she, in the end, who becomes the improbable and undeniable guardian of Frank's inner world.