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I Can Give You Anything But Love Hardcover – September 8, 2015
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"In sharing his memoirs, Gary Indiana exposes the inner turmoil, his naked truths of sexuality as a gay man and the clear and still present intuitive qualities of his distinctive and intelligent voice as a writer. . . 'I Can Give You Anything But Love' is not a breezy read and that is part of the fascination to be found in his writing style and livelihood."
"It's impossible to agree or disagree with all of Indiana's (often fearless) critical pronouncements, but it's likewise impossible to discount his tremendous style, wit, and education. Careworn copies of this long overdue memoir will change hands for the rest of the year and beyond."
"This memoir is classic Gary Indiana, waspish and gorgeous and a little wary of sharing its heart when sharing its other parts might work just as well."
"A graphic and funny memoir, [I Can Give You Anything But Love] finds Indiana reinventing yet another genre - this time using his own personal narrative. He becomes the connective tissue that binds together a diaspora of subcultures: the beatnik-era experimental writing and happenings of downtown New York, the 1960s co-opted counterculture gone awry, the punk movement that followed, and the art and intellectual circles of the Reagan 80s, when the AIDS crisis was wiping out a generation of young gay men like him."
-THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
"I Can Give You Anything But Love is discursive, impressionistic, punctuated by incisive reflections on history and culture, witty evocations of period and place, mystifying forays into character assassination, and frank descriptions of sex."
-THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
About the Author
Gary Indiana is a writer, playwright, filmmaker, and artist. He is the author of seven novels, including Do Everything in the Dark and The Shanghai Gesture, as well as several plays, collections of poetry and nonfiction, and essays in publications from Art in America to Vice. His visual art appeared in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
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Furthermore, Indiana has no hesitation to take on people who do not amuse him. The list is right long: The photographer Annie Leibovitz: “I can truthfully say that little that interests Annie Leibovitz interests me.” That comment is mild to what Indiana says about her friend Susan Sontag who gets six pages of criticism. “She was exasperating, often cruel, and, in a less than endearing way, oblivious to the effect she made on other people. She never stood away from herself to question her motives, or to consider anyone else’s point of view, or their feelings. She thought other people were stupid. . .” He says, upon meeting David Lynch for an interview, that he disliked him immediately. Mr. Indiana also takes out after Joan Didion, Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald in a big way. (As I read his comments on Didion, I suspected that my friend in Brooklyn who worships at her altar would not be amused.) “The irksome repetitions and overly precious one-line paragraphs in Didion come directly out of Hemingway and the pregnant white space he famously left around his sentences.” Hemingway is a “lousy writer. A phony writer.” And he is destined to go the way of “Hula-Hoops.” (Whatever else you think of Mr. Indiana’s writing, you have to love his choice of metaphors. He goes to the head of the class for his way with words.) Fitzgerald is a worse writer than Hemingway. But Charles Bukowski’s “books are—there is no polite way of saying it—s—t.”
Here is more of Mr. Indiana’s descriptive language that kept me turning pages. Susan Sontag had the “misfortune to live in a country that cares less about intellectuals than it does about the ash content of dog food.” In a comparison of L. A. and Boston in the 1970’s, Boston is the loser, “As cities go, a ripe outhouse.” And in one of my favorite of all his images, Indiana describes his friend Ferd Eggan, who “after his looks went, his charisma continued to make him beautiful in an Egon Schiele way.” A perfect description.
Mr. Indiana meanders in a way I found fascinating and always compelling. He goes back and forth, describing his less-than-happy childhood, his time in L. A (the only way he endured a position as receptionist at a legal aid office was by going to work high) and his later life in Cuba, that contains some of his best stories I think (is it really true that “Cuban men will screw a grapefruit is there’s nothing else around”?) and made me want to visit although he would rue the day that I and other tourists descend on Havana, thanks in part to our current president. Although he knows it will not last, some of the things that endear Cuba to him right now: “No New York Times. No high-speed Internet. No Desperate Housewives of Atlanta, no American Idol,l no Dancing with the Stars, No Kardashians, no Donald Trump, no Tea Party, no NRA, no Rite Aid, no Chase Bank, no Merrill Lynch, no Goldman Sachs.” It is easy to see what the writer is taken with Cuba as it is now.
There are also several interesting photographs shot by Mr. Indiana strewn here and there in the book with no captions, however. It is not always clear what they have to do with his narrative if anything.
I CAN GIVE YOU ANYTHING WITH LOVE (an apt title) is not quite like any memoir I have read. A fascinating book.
I have read many books written by Mr. Indiana. I am upset because he is a woefully underrated and under-publicized writer. It is a crime that this is so. America does not value its great writers - only its mediocre ones. It is a shame.
Anyway, I love the great Mr. Indiana's books, and I treasure him and his books. I will read any book that Mr. Indiana deems to publish.