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The Cosmopolitans by Sarah Schulman

The Cosmopolitans

by Sarah Schulman

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I loved this book. It’s the story of two lonely people, one a white female who fled her small town life in Ohio and the other a black gay man who fled his family in the south. They’ve lived side by side in different apartments since they met. He’s a struggling actor, forced to take a job in a slaughterhouse. She has a mundane job as a secretary in an advertising firm. Their New York City story spans the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s and their friendship is responsible for their survival. If a story could be called “beautiful” that’s what I’d call this book. ( )
  brangwinn | Dec 17, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this—an odd omniscient narrator book, based on Balzac's [Cousin Bette], but very engaging. I liked the characters' combination of extreme perceptiveness and extreme selfishness, which made for a neat kind of social-realism-on-the-couch storytelling. It was actually the perfect book to read right after Elizabeth Taylor, with the British drawing room transplanted to late-1950s Greenwich Village with some race relations thrown in. Schulman's epilogue was interesting too, talking a bit about Zola and dirty realism and literary movements.

The cover reminds me so much of a Dawn Powell book but I can't remember which. Maybe The Golden Spur.

I was sorry not to bring it home with me from the conference I was at in Orlando, but I was greedy and picked up too many galleys and couldn't quite see bringing a galley that I'd already read home again in my already overloaded suitcase. So I set it free into the wild of the Rosen Centre lobby, which was full of librarians this morning, with a note; hopefully someone else (who didn't pick up as many galleys as I did) will dig it. ( )
1 vote lisapeet | Jun 13, 2016 |
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A modern retelling of Balzac's classic Cousin Bette by one of America's most prolific and significant writers. Earl, a black, gay actor working in a meatpacking plant, and Bette, a white secretary, have lived next door to each other in the same Greenwich Village apartment building for thirty years. Shamed and disowned by their familied, both found refuge in New York and in their domestic routine. Everything changes when Hortense, a wealthy young actress from Ohio, comes to the city to "make it."… (more)

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