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Dancer from the Dance: A Novel Paperback – December 18, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Andrew Holleran, a Harvard graduate, is a well-known journalist and frequent contributor to major gay publications. Dancer from the Dance, his first novel, was originally published in 1978 to great critical acclaim. He is also the author of Nights in Aruba, The Beauty of Men, Ground Zero, In the Mirror of Men's Eyes, and In September, the Light Changes.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (December 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060937068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060937065
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
It seems kind of silly to try to measure, as if it were a science, the precise extent to which a work is a "classic," as many have done here. This is especially true when the work in question is only some 20 years old and the culture producing its critics is both notoriously bitchy and given to dissent. Having said that, far be it from me to hold myself aloof from the fray. Because for all the debate and qualification and feelings of guilt by association this novel seems sometimes to provoke in its readers, it's a classic. There, I've said it--the "c" word. If this book is not in print fifty years from now, we'll have lost what is for late 20th century American gay culture a canonical novel that is, in its own way, every bit as evocative and compelling as the works of Fitzgerald and Hemingway. (The comparison to Fitzgerald is in fact an apt one: this novel resonates with subtle references and allusions to The Great Gatsby--which, fifty years earlier, also documented great big parties frequented by plenty of lost souls on Long Island Sound. I think Holleran very much had Gatsby on his mind when he wrote this novel, and, to his great credit, this story warrants and benefits from the comparison.)
Dancer captures a time and a place and a mood, and it does so with poetry and while telling a hell of a funny, debauched, and crushingly sad, story. Malone and Sutherland are both archetypes and real people, they are Huck and Jim in gay Manhattan, and we care deeply about them. We look forward to seeing what Sutherland will have to say next and to finding out how the beautiful and damned Malone--that über circuit queen--can screw up his life any further. Holleran's Malone and Sutherland are misguided, exaggerated and decadent, and frequently horrible moral role models.
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Format: Paperback
...it would be Andrew Holleran's beautiful, wickedly funny, decadent freshman novel, "Dancer from the Dance". The appelation has been given to many books, but "Dancer" is for me the all-time greatest gay novel. While a plot-and-character summary would make it sound like a narrowly focused, thinly disguised documentary of gay hedonism in pre-AIDS New York City, "Dancer"'s images and dialogue are uniquely evocative and memorable. Holleran's prose has a rare expressive quality, and his descriptions truly haunt the reader.
Guiding the reader through the wreckage and beauty of 1970s New York are two brilliant characters, Malone and Sutherland. Malone is a fallen Adonis, a well-bred WASP young man who, after a moment of unexpected passion in his Manhattan office late one night, begins gorging himself on the overripe fruit of the city's sexual life. After his first romantic disaster, Malone is rescued, taken in, and mentored by the bitchy, high-camp, mad-genius Sutherland. As they careen between raunch and glamour, Sutherland dispenses Wildean aphorisms on life, love, and sex. While every step of the way serving as Sutherland's accomplice in drugs, dishing, discos, and designer demimondes, Malone the whore retains an all-Middle-American vision of finding true love.
Truly, Malone and Sutherland are two of 20th-century literature's most memorable protagonists. But it is Holleran's unparalleled ability to evoke lasting images of New York City during a halcyon period for gay men that makes "Dancer" an unforgettable and absolutely necessary read. If you're gay and have a pulse, read this book.
I've read "Dancer" at least a dozen times and it never fails to provoke both laughter and tears.
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Format: Paperback
Often cited as "the" gay novel of the post-Stonewall generation, "Dancer From the Dance" is a lyrical account of the frenetic life of gay men caught up in the hard-partying "circuit" of Manhattan and Fire Island in the mid-1970's. Hollaran's enigmatic protagonist, Anthony Malone, is a man of nearly unearthly masculine beauty who has left his unloved profession as a lawyer to pursue a life of lust and pleasure in his personal, endless search for love. Poetic, and often moving, the novel paints a colorful picture of a pack of driven hedonists, endlessly in quest of "the perfect man", moving through discos, bars, bathhouses, and parties of almost baroque proportions. The book is levened with comic moments, largely supplied by Sutherland, Malone's outrageous, advice spewing friend, mentor and den mother, who moves effortlessly between the heady worlds of the heterosexual jet set and the gay demimonde. Malone's wistful longing to recapture his one successful male-to-male relationship with the married, violent Frankie is hauntingly described. Overall, a very satisfying novel, vivid and vital despite the passivity of Malone. And the equivocal ending stays with one. Holleran's subsequent books have not been nearly as satisfying, but so profound an impact did "Dancer From the Dance" make on the gay community that, for years after its publication in 1977, anonymous graffiti appeared throughout New York's Greenwich Village, plaintively proclaiming: "Malone Lives!"

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