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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Nights in Aruba by Andrew Holleran 
6th-Feb-2006 09:45 pm
Good grief. Should I even bother with the rest of Holleran's literary endeavors? (I suspect that my auditory bias renders me especially unappreciative; this author apparently doesn't like doing dialogue.)

Holleran, Andrew. Nights in Aruba. 1983. New York: Perennial, 2001.
Summary: Paul recalls his childhood in Aruba, his youth in the army in Germany, and his adulthood commuting between his parents' home in Jasper, Florida where he is the dutiful, unmarried son and the hedonistic homosexual world of dances, bars, and baths in pre-AIDS New York City.
Comments: Well, at least this time around Holleran largely resists the temptation to write in the first person plural as he does in Dancer from the Dance--though this second novel remains in an odd fashion clinical, despite the personal and deeply emotional subject matter. The semi-mysterious "we" does at times resurface briefly when the narrator is interacting with his group, leading to the odd implication that you are either an individual or you are a homosexual. Moments of wit and a number of profound, right-on observations about life keep this novel from being a total bore, and made it easier to slough through than Holleran's previous endeavor, but, really, the story isn't about much of anything even though all the situations themselves seemed perfectly genuine. Paul (whose name, as far as I can recall, appears only once at the tail-end of the last chapter) lives a pretty meaningless life. He never finds a long-term, stable relationship, and I can never figure out how he manages to support himself financially on the weird hours he apparently keeps. Who has time to "visit" with the parents for nine months, to party, party, party all the time without some sort of trust fund or outside support? In fact, by the time he hits middle age, he hasn't done much of anything and reaches the "revelation" finally that his life has just begun. Err. I hope that doesn't happen to me. Given the evidence of this novel, it's scary to think that disease might have after all given gay male writers something substantive to write about.
Notes: trade paperback, 1st printing, out-of-print
Rating: 5/10 - If you like pretty prose sans much in the way of dialogue, go for it. Otherwise unessential.
28th-Feb-2006 02:08 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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