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Andrew Holleran Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Dancer from the Dance (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
Nights in Aruba (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Beauty of Men (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Grief (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Kingdom of Sand (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Ground Zero (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
In September, the Light Changes (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Chronicle of a Plague, Revisited (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Personal Dispatches: Writers Confront AIDS(1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Flesh and the Word: An Anthology of Erotic Writing(1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mammoth Book of Gay Short Stories(1997)Description / Buy at Amazon

Andrew Holleran is a gay literary fiction novelist who grew up in the Dutch Caribbean on Aruba Island where his father was employed in the oil industry. Following his father’s retirement in 1961, they all moved to a northern Floridan town.
After he graduated from high school, he studied American history and literature at Harvard College.

In 1965, he got his bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard and proceeded to the Iowa Writers Workshop since he was terrified of going to law school right away.

Some of his teachers at the Workshop included Jose Donoso and Kurt Vonnegut, even as he made friends with Robert Ferro a fellow student.

Even though he never published anything during his time in Iowa, he graduated with an MA and an MFA from the Workshop.

He would then proceed to Law School at the University of Pennsylvania where he soon found himself in something of a Kafka-like nightmare and was only rescued by getting drafted into the Army as the Vietnam War was raging at the time.
It was while he was stationed in Germany that the New Yorker bought his first story. It was also at this time that Holleran got his first gay sex experience, which he has sometimes talked about in interviews.

After moving back to the US following his release from the US Army, Andrew Holleran went back to law school.
It was during this time that he found out about a gay part of town and got immersed in the culture for several years. He loved going to bars and even though he was very shy, he used to come out in such places.
Andrew then dropped out of law school and moved to New York where he found out all about bathhouses and gay dance clubs in the gay scenes of Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove.

Whenever he was not looking for sex, at the gym, dancing, or partying, he was usually at home in an apartment full of roaches, or out working as a typist or bartender.

During this time, he continued writing, thinking that the success he had with the New Yorker would keep on repeating itself.

However, he never published anything for nearly a decade until 1978 when he finally got “Dancer from the Dance” published after a lot of struggle. It was this that would launch his career as an author as it became a national bestseller and critical success.
His later works including his essays, short stories, and autobiographical novels are all about his experiences as a gay man.

As for the inspiration for his debut novel, Andrew Holleran had been about to quit after trying for nearly a decade and not getting published.

One winter while visiting his parents in Florida, he started getting letters from New York, where he had many gay friends.

The letters were penned in a wonderful and campy style that he loved and soon, he began thinking that it would be great to pen and publish something in that style and voice.
He had never once thought of writing about his New York life and he began to think that maybe that was why he had never been successful.

Once he began writing, things came easily as it was a subject that worked for him. He was lucky that the subject of gay life and culture had for some reason become nostalgic, and this made his book sell fast.

Andrew Holleran’s novel “Dancer from the Dance” is a work that provides an insightful look into the gay culture of New York during the 1970s.

With its profane yet languid prose, distasteful and jarring vocabulary, and a little melancholy for living life, it is a work that will sometimes leave you feeling sad.
It follows the adventure of a handsome young man named Malone who is in search of love in the emerging gay scene in New York.

From after-hours discos and Baths in Manhattan to lavish orgies and deserted parks in Fire Island, Malone goes on a tireless quest to find some meaningful companionship.
At some point, he meets a quintessential and campy queen named Sutherland whom he believes could be the solution to what he has been looking for.

As a modern reader, you will certainly appreciate looking into this period with its pre-AIDS urban fay life, all-night parties, tea dances, and discos.
While some attitudes and behaviors have changed, the unending pursuit of romance and beauty remains universal.

“The Kingdom of Sand” by Andrew Holleran is a work that looks into the emotional and geographical landscape of contemporary rural Florida.

The lead is an unnamed narrator who is desperate to maintain a lingering and long friendship with a man named Earl.

The latter is twenty years older and often thinks about his past loves, the indulgences of lust and desire, which he reflects on with a kind of bittersweetness.
Earl is a widower and retired accountant and has common interests with the narrator that include music, books, picking blueberries, and fine furniture.

These interests have been the glue that has held them together over the years as they look back upon their many friends who died of AIDS.

For the narrator, their friendship is something of a perfect combination of companionship and solitude which is a bucolic dream.

While the work has a tinge of mournful depression, Holleran throws in mordant nostalgia and stylistic flourishes to make for an engrossing read with a beautiful resolution.

Andrew Holleran’s novel “Grief” is an eloquent but understated novel that captures the pain of the many gay men who reached middle age after surviving the AIDS epidemic, and are now yearning for intimacy, tenderness, and fidelity.
The silver-haired narrator just moved to Washington D.C. from Florida where he has been taking care of his mother for a dozen years. He intends to start over and has been recently engaged to teach a seminar at a college on AIDS and literature.
Near Dupont Circle, he is isolated and very lonely as the only person around is his celibate and gay landlord who no longer practices homosexuality.

The narrator spends much of his time reading Mary Todd Lincoln’s letters and feels kinship with her since just like her, he has never come out of the closet to his mother.

Through the narrator, the author speaks volumes on love, attachment, sex, and aging in scenes as heartbreaking as they are compelling.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Andrew Holleran

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