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Faggots (1978)

by Larry Kramer

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568936,970 (3.7)29
A novel by the author of the AIDS drama, The Normal Heart, this is the story of Fred Lemish, aged 39, who seeks a permanent homosexual relationship, but tends to look for Mr Right in all the wrong places.
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» See also 29 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
As a young gay man, recently come out to my family (Thanksgiving Break, how cliche, right) & having then graduated in May; I found I wasn't the carefree "gay" I thought I was going to feel-like. I decided on a break year (which I would need to fund myself...eek!). I got a job, turned it into a successful launch for various positions & industries I would later hold. However, sexually I was socially isolated, virtually everyone I was close to graduated and moved away. When I was given the book via USPS, I thought it was meant to be a lighthearted ribbing from a close female dorm mate. After thanking her for the gift (ha-ha), she told me to READ the book, it wasn't meant as a gag. She went to the Village, found a bookstore and talked with the manager & staff about how she could help her friend wandering lost in his rumpled oxfords, chinos, & Topsiders in DC.
The book was a like looking through a window at a world that looked familar, but spoke a different language. I still can quote lines from the book. When finished, I put on my Calvins & grabbed my favorite Lacoste (pre-RL polo) and headed to the gay bookstore that actually sold books. I found an approachable sales guy & tried to explain my situation and if he had any suggestions for further reading?
Quick escape ending, he was done for the day & asked me to dinner. He told me, like college, I was done reading and needed to start doing! I'll leave it there, but 3 yrs later I met the one and just celebrated our 41st Anniversary (11 legal). Oh, ironically, he was a visiting college friend of one of my DC friend and was currently living in Manhattan. ( )
  Huba.Library | Oct 3, 2022 |
Fray ending, fascinating, terrifying, mesmerizing. These were my impressions when I first read this novel in the 1990s. Now I understand more about Larry Kramer and what he was trying to point out in his writing, I find this work even more compelling. ( )
  Stephen.Lawton | Aug 7, 2021 |
Na "capital homossexual do mundo" (Nova Iorque) dos loucos anos pré-SIDA, seja nos bairros gay de Greenwich, em Washington Sq ou Christopher Street, numa das saunas gay da cidade, na inauguração da super-discoteca gay mais incrível de sempre ou no paraíso homossexual à beira-mar que era Fire Island, ninguém se importa com nada que não seja o prazer físico e sensual, sexo desenfreado, em grupo, anónimo, leather, s-m, fisting, muito... mas Fred compreende que procura apenas amor!
Talvez o livro mais realista e profundamente conhecedor da cena gay novaiorquina dos anos 1970. E enredo é muito solto, os personagens multiplicam-se de tal forma que lhes perdemos o rasto, mas no final da leitura ficamos com a sensação de que estivemos a apreciar um quadro complexo, uma obra-prima de um mestre. Jerónimo Bosch, por exemplo. ( )
  jmx | Jun 20, 2017 |
Great works of literature transcend their specific cultural context. "Hamlet," for example, or "Candide" or "Moby-Dick" or "The Canterbury Tales" are still considered masterpieces that resonate with significance and artistic integrity hundreds of years after they were written. Perhaps it is trickier for a satire to preserve its accessibility or its appeal as time passes, since a satire often targets topical rather than timeless concerns. Brilliantly written and insightful satires, such as “A Modest Proposal” and "Don Quixote," however, manage to remain relevant long after their heyday.

Sadly, "Faggots," which fancies itself a satire and has been hailed as a tour de force of modern queer literature, merits none of these distinctions. In truth, in can hardly be characterized as a novel at all, since it lacks most of the defining elements of the genre on a very fundamental level—for example, a well-constructed plot or complex and thoughtfully developed characters. The story, such as it is, consists of allegedly witty vignettes or set pieces strung together with little sense of coherence or narrative veracity and populated by an unnecessarily large cast of undeveloped flat characters. A generous reading might presume that Kramer is attempting a stream-of-consciousness style, but if that’s the case, his novelistic skill is not up to the task, since such a style requires profound psychological insight into the complex thought patterns of a character who provides narrative perspective.

Upon its publication in 1978, "Faggots" sowed controversy due to its graphic depiction of gay sex, fetishes, drug use, incest, and other scandalous “perversities.” To be fair, as a depiction of pre-AIDS era gay culture in New York City, the novel retains great cultural value as an artifact of that specific historical moment. But it cannot be considered a work of literature. One suspects that there is good reason why Kramer, who penned the magnificent play (and later screenplay) "The Normal Heart" and contributed greatly to queer activism in the latter part of the 20th century, never wrote another novel. ( )
  jimrgill | May 20, 2017 |
I wanted more insight into the Gay culture of my yesteryear, and so thought this novel a great place to look. While Faggots is technically a satire, I think that what he is depicting is a very real and frank look at what life was like for gay men of that time.
Sex has always been and will always be a huge part of Gay culture, and so, a huge part of this novel. Like 99%!
The extremely graphic aspect didn't bother me too much, I'm no prude, but I did feel it was a bit overdone. You can have graphic scenes and still allow for more of a story and character development, which seemed to be lacking.
In the end I found the writing frustrating. I didn't find a single character likeable. It was so full of characters I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. I hated how it sometimes felt like some third party was narrating it and other times it didn't.
I can see why it was such a polarizing novel in its day, as it was clearly a giant spotlight on the gay community and certainly didnt paint them in a pretty light.
I did think that Kramer wrote a beautiful glimpse at just how hard it can be to find love in a world that only values sex. A problem the Gay community still has today in my opinion. Still, while this aspect of the story was the part I enjoyed, the character looking for love was, as mentioned before, not in the least likeable. So I didn't really care if he succeeded or not.
Ultimately I came out of the novel half way between hating it and loving it. ( )
  Kiddboyblue | Mar 20, 2016 |
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Epigraph
...the ancients located the deeper emotions in the bowels.

(Evelyn Waugh, Put out more flags)
Dedication
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There are 2,556,596 faggots in the New York City area.
Quotations
Of the 2,639,857 faggots in the New York City area, 2,639,857 think primarily with their cocks.
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A novel by the author of the AIDS drama, The Normal Heart, this is the story of Fred Lemish, aged 39, who seeks a permanent homosexual relationship, but tends to look for Mr Right in all the wrong places.

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