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Gossip Hardcover – April 1, 1997

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Christopher Bram is one of the most praised writers of gay fiction, and Gossip is perhaps his best book to date. An incisive, savvy political thriller, Gossip tells the story of Ralph Eckhart, a denizen of the gay East Village and ACT UP member, who meets and starts an affair with Bill O'Connor, a closeted gay Republican journalist. After Ralph dumps Bill with an angry phone call (that has been taped), and O'Connor is soon found murdered, the police think they know who did it. Beautifully plotted and written, Christopher Bram has written a novel of contemporary gay politics that is as complex and exhilarating as our lives.

From Booklist

Bram recovers from the disappointing Father of Frankenstein (1995) with his most absorbing book ever. Visiting his friend Nancy in Washington, New Yorker Ralph Eckhart honors a date with a previously cyberspace-only buddy, Bill. The two click sexually and start a long-distance relationship. But Ralph discovers conservative journalist Bill is about to publish a book trashing liberal women in Washington and, in a footnote, alleging a lesbian affair between a speechwriter and a senator--a pair that could only be Nancy and her boss. Ralph tells Bill off, Bill tries to make amends by coming out on national TV, and suddenly Bill is murdered, leaving behind a recorded denunciation by Ralph on his phone answerer. What follows is the stuff of high melodrama, as Ralph becomes an unknowing pawn in nasty political games in which, Ralph learns, gay liberal friends have used him even more callously than have evil conservatives. With a cast full of credibly conflicted characters and his smoothest writing to date, Bram's ethical thriller is a powerful, compelling performance. Ray Olson

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; First Edition edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525939148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525939146
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.2 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,483,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Bram is the author of nine novels, including Father of Frankenstein, which was made into the Academy Award-winning movie Gods and Monsters, starring Ian McKellen. Bram grew up outside of Norfolk, Virginia, where he was a paperboy and an Eagle Scout. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1974 and moved to New York City in 1978. In addition to Father of Frankenstein, he has written numerous articles and essays. His most recent book, Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America, is a literary history. Bram was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2001, and in 2003, he received Publishing Triangle's Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement. He lives in Greenwich Village and teaches at New York University.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
OK, it's not a great classic or anything, but taken on its own terms, it's highly enjoyable. The premise (gay liberal male gets involved with gay conservative male) is just a variation of the Carville/Matlin phenomenon, but Bram gives it the humor and odd twists which are required to keep your interest.
As for the second half, the so-called "mystery", readers would be well-advised to take that on Bram's terms, too; he's not really trying to make a big socially significant point, but he's not just settling for a frothy Robert Rodi-type novel, either. (No offense to Rodi, whose novels I always enjoy).
In some respects, Bram's style reminds me of Peter Cameron or Nick Hornby. These authors clearly care about their characters, but in a somewhat detached way which may not appeal to everyone.
Don't mistake this detachment for disinterest or lack of conviction; it's all there, it's just that Bram is evoking the era a bit more effectively than we may be comfortable acknowledging. No, the loose ends are not all neatly wrapped up at the end, but when does that ever happen in real life anyway?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By rebelmomof2 VINE VOICE on January 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
When I first picked up this book, I did not realize that it was gay fiction. Once into the book, I couldn't stop reading it though. It was suspenseful and interesting enough to keep reading, though I will admit that it left me even more confused at the end. It ends up being a book about morals and ethics ... which is really interesting.

Ralph Eckert is a young man who lives in NYC, quietly gay and content with his life as a bookseller in a bookstore. He travels to D.C. to visit a friend from college and before heading home, he met up with one of his computer friends to have a face to face meeting. That short affair led to diastrous results and a murder which Ralph was framed for. The young man who was murdered was a promising writer who was on the threshold of publishing a tell-all book about lesbians in D.C., in hopes to shatter careers. It was a bitterly written book and it was the reason why Ralph broke things off with him. Then Ralph finds himself in the center of a storm between the religious right and the gay activists who want to fight for their rights. Ralph was stuck smack in the middle of it and there doesn't seem a way out of the mess.

This book talks about choices and how choices make a mess of other people's lives ~~ how people can miscontrue other people's desires and wishes, how people can take off with a simple matter and see it explode into something out of their control and innocent people are left to pick up the pieces afterwards. It is interesting to see how all this ties in together ~~ and it was confusing in some parts. It is a book that explores human nature at its finest and at its worst and how people aren't what they seem to be. Very intriguing reading.

1-23-07
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
If you were a fan of Gore Vidal before he went strange, then Christopher Bram is the novelist for you. If you don't know Bram, then Gossip is the novel with which to begin. Sex, suspense. mystery, social criticism, and satire all combine to make this a throughly engrossing novel. How nice to read an intelligent author. Most authors would tell you exactly what kind of character "Tersites" was in Troilus & Cresssida (a rank scandalmonger who was severly beaten by Ulysses). But when Bram assigns the name to one of his characters, he flatters the readers intelligence by not laboring the parallel. So there is wit as well as good storytelling with this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Father of Frankenstein is much better. This book is entertaining, and I like the modern touch - online chats and the gay conservative character. However, Bram couldn't seem to make up his mind regarding how realistic he wanted the story to be. The first half of the book was a pretty good commentary of Washington politics (in the Clinton era), but the second half just degenerated into a plot-driven and far-fetched fluff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JOSEPH OLIVER on August 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I had read ‘Hold Tight’ by the same author. I found that book completely engrossing and thought that maybe lightening may strike in the same place twice. It did – and it didn’t.

This particular novel has no connection with the plot of ‘Hold Tight’. They could almost be written by two different people – both excellent writers but with no connection to one another. It was published in 1997 but it may as well have been yesterday. The issues seem perennial and the same people are still parading about the stage of politics so in many respects you can take the characters to be almost amalgams of the men and women we know who inhabit the strange worlds of politics and gay activism. They almost need one another to survive. They both need enemies to give themselves reasons to continue the struggle.

The book is in two parts really. The story of the brief and troubled relationship between Ralph and Bill – two gay men who really shouldn’t be sharing the same roof let alone the same bed. Ralph is an openly gay man managing a book store in NY, a former activist he now seems estranged from the whole gay politics of it all and quite happy to live, love and work. His friends don’t think the same though. Bill is a right-wing political pundit hoping to make it big exposing the creeping liberalism he sees all about him. Especially the rise of women which he believes is weakening the political structures in Washington. Strange views coming from a minority himself. Of course Bill the commentator isn’t officially ‘out’ as he feels [and quite rightly knows] that it would put an end to whatever future he has as a right wing pundit. It’s almost a contradiction in terms – a Republican gay man.
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