Before I started reading Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance, I felt protective of it. Its reputation made me feel that it was my duty to read it. That magical first summer in P-town, almost ten years ago, I also discovered Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance, a gay novel that was. Dancer from the Dance: A Novel [Andrew Holleran] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. One of the most important works of gay literature, this.

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A collective wail arose from the crowd. When I tje read Dancer from the Dance, in the throes of a post-paradise depression, I was enthralled.

Being a Gay Man Who Is Free: Reflecting on ‘Dancer From the Dance’

The characters reminded me of my friends and fromm — a precocious group of twenty-somethings repeating jokes older than we were, in constant search for the perfect party, the perfect music, and the perfect partner.

Then, Dancer from the Dance felt like a revelation, speaking to my loneliness and my desperate hunger to find someone to affirm my place in the world. Malone is simultaneously idol and cautionary tale.

Dncer from a crippling thw, he gives up his lawyer life in Maryland and moves to New York, essentially dropping out of society, to seek love, full time. Yet Dancer constantly conflates sex and love. Relationships are superficial and fleeting, predicated on nights spent in a popper-induced haze on the dancefloor: Now of all the bonds between homosexual friends, none was greater than that between the friends who danced together.

The friend you danced with, when you had no lover, was the most important person in your life…. They spend a blissful summer in some ramshackle dive above the West Side Highway, until Malone realizes that there are indeed other swarthy, dark-eyed homosexuals ready, willing, and able to fuck. After dane his indiscretions, Frankie threatens to kill Malone, and Malone then runs away, finding solace in the opera-gloved hands of Sutherland, an extravagant queen who pals around with Egyptian heiresses and impressionable young millionaires he uses to fund his life of drugs and tireless leisure.


Sutherland is particularly charming, even though he luxuriates in a casual racism, couched conveniently in playful imperiousness, daance is indicative of his superior breeding: His fall from grace — as the anointed one, the most beautiful, the most perfect, the most Christ-like — is the most precipitous.

As I grew older and, despite my best efforts, remained single, I would point to Dancer from the Dance as a reminder that sadness and loneliness are an inextricable part of gay life. Each successive summer I would joke about walking into the ocean, as Malone ultimately does, never to be seen again.

Dancer from the Dance, like most contemporaneous works that can be deemed gay, concerns the existential crisis of being homosexual. Malone is always searching for meaning in his life, and so he damcer up one life to start a new one, one dedicated danver a singular purpose: I could just be gay, or queer, or not even ascribe a label at dxnce.

Therefore I no longer view my inability to find love as a side-effect or an innate characteristic of being gay, as it is for Malone.

People of my generation take for granted the freedom we have to define who we are. From its first pages to its last, Dancer from the Dance is shrouded in death, a fact that — given that the AIDS epidemic was just around the corner — now appears bitterly ironic.

Lovers overdose on drugs, houseboys dander their heads blown off on St. Marks Place, beautiful youths slit their veins and jump off buildings, boys drown trying to sniff poppers at the bottom of a pool. Death, like sex, is made dande and over the top — thus stripping both of their power — and the two are linked, if not the same. Everyone admired Malone because he was polite and kind — the quintessential all-American boy — but mostly because he was beautiful, so beautiful they could willfully ignore the fact that he was a mess.

He spends the entire novel trying to recreate a love he tired of by the changing of the season, only to realize That love among homosexuals is impossible?


DANCER FROM THE DANCE by Andrew Holleran | Kirkus Reviews

It probably did feel impossible for a lot of gay men who were told their entire lives that something was wrong with them for feeling the way they did. But love starts from within. Do you realize what a tiny fraction of the mass of homosexuals we were?

We never saw them. Part of my recent frustration with this book was that, re-reading it, I felt invisible, whereas it once made me feel truly seen. But past romanticism has failed me and now all I can see is the glaring omission of non-white characters, the fetishization of Latino men, and Malone suffering under the weight of his own privilege. Of course, this is a very view, one steeped in a political and social correctness that ebbs and flows with the tides and presidents.

Rather, we must loudly proclaim our identities, and live boldly, lest we be erased and altogether forgotten. I know of many gay men around this city, and elsewhere, who suffer from a familiar kind of malaise, a gnawing search for something that looks like love but that they sate with hollerah, or drugs, or alcohol, or all of the above.

The real difference is the freedom that comes with 40 years of change and perspective. The freedom to exist openly, to find love, to define love as we see fit. By Les Fabian Brathwaite.

Dancer from the Dance

The hollleran you danced with, when you had no lover, was the most important person in your life… Shortly after moving to New York, Malone falls for the volatile Frankie, a married subway employee from Bayonne, N. Latest videos on Out.

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