army of sparkle (sparkle_shortz) wrote in postqueer,
army of sparkle

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From the Irish Times Booker Prize coverage:
Most critics expected Alan Hollinghurst, a Booker runner-up in 1994, to make the final half dozen as soon as The Line of Beauty featured on the longlist. And so he has. He is a sensitive, humane reader of relationships, and a diligent writer of calm, emotional set pieces, but there invariably lingers about his lengthy fiction a feeling of having already read it. With each novel, and this is his fourth, there is an oppressive sense of "Let's have another look at vulnerable, intimate gay relationships in contemporary Britain set against a canvas of British politics". Here is England in the 1980s, and Hollinghurst appears caught by a theme that simply will not release him.

Maybe I'm being sensitive, and no I haven't read the book, but this angered me. Ironically, I think it was Hollinghurst whose most recent book inspired a really long John Updike review in the New Yorker which caused a big ol' "ohmygodjohnupdikeishomophobic" e-mail uproar.

Gay fiction exists in a ghetto, because straight people like this really don't care about our lives or see us as part of theirs. Or not. I'm trying to think of counter-examples, and though I've never read Hollinghurst, Updike's criticism did include points I thought might be valid about the wealthy white gay male world and how closed off it is [edit: can be] to outside influences, particularly women of any description (though Updike seemed to miss their "chirp and swing" mostly as set dressing). But at the moment I really can't think of any popular gay writers who don't fit the freak or court jester role.

x-posted from my own lj because no one commented there and I do think about this a lot. Perhaps I should have read The End of Gay, oh well. And I used the term gay here because I think "queer" is a whole other conversation where book publishing is concerned, but feel free to start that conversation too if this intrigues you.

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