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The Secret Swinger by Alan Harrington
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The Secret Swinger

by Alan Harrington

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1967. George Pectin, a forty-three-year-old magazine reporter and failed novelist is having a midlife crisis. His grandparents die and he leaves his wife and son in a quest for some kind of spiritual rebirth. His search takes him to the arms of various women and to the Village drug scene where he relives his youthful days with Kerouac and Ginsberg. Ginsberg, here called George Muchnik, has become a great man with an entourage of acolytes and Pectin resents it. He feels his failure as an artist keenly. He's a second-rate journalist. He's scared of death. One night he goes to Muchnik's pad, and Muchnik gives him a girl and some hallucinogens and tells him to Love and to Be. George's hallucinatory visions more or less drive him mad and he seeks rebirth in the most shocking and literal way. This powerful little gem of a book describes the scene very well and does not shy from Ginsberg's homosexuality, while not treating it as central to the action. I suppose there were more famous people whom I couldn't recognize. There was a blond boy, Artie, who might be Peter Orlovsky. It would have been sadder, if the author hadn't sort of acquitted himself better than his main character, by writing four novels and a non-fiction work on immortality. Harrington was apparently obsessed with living forever. I hope someone reprints his books soon, so he can at least live on in that way. ( )
  kylekatz | Feb 23, 2014 |
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