From Publishers Weekly
A vivid prose stylist and a premier chronicler of gay life, gay desire and gay liberation, Edmund White has achieved renown as a novelist and as a nonfiction writer. A Boy's Own Story helped define the coming-out novel; the decades of journalism collected in The Burning Library gave gay male America a detailed picture of itself, sometimes angry, often celebratory. And his colossal biography of Jean Genet gave Anglophone readers new access to the rule-smashing French author. This authorized biography follows White's life from his birth in 1940, in Cincinnati, to his current residence in Paris. Barber's (Fragments of the European City) fluid prose demonstrates intense research, accompanied by a tendency to stay close to his subject's point of view, with some passages appearing to be paraphrased from interviews with White. The biography touches on White's array of friends and famous allies, among them Robert Mapplethorpe, Susan Sontag, James Merrill and Adam Mars-Jones. White immersed himself in the gay New York of the 1970s; his move to Paris in 1983 divides his adult life neatly in half. Barber's account of the Paris years is slower pacedAand more revealingAbut sexual encounters, social misadventures and literary accomplishments in both cities get adequate coverage, as do White's months on an idyllic Turkish island and his entanglements in Brown University's campus politics. White's later fiction records the awful impact of HIV, and Barber rises to painful eloquence in describing the last days of White's beloved partner, Hubert Sorin, who died of AIDS in Morocco in 1994. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Publisher
"Barber's fluid prose demonstrates intense research, accompanied by a tendency to stay close to his subject's point of view, with some passages appearing to be paraphrased from interviews with White...and Barber rises to painful eloquence in describing the last days of White's beloved partner, Hubert Sorin, who died of AIDS in Morocco in 1994." --Publishers Weekly
"Edmund White is the wizard of American fiction. By turns and at once, his work is ecstatic and elegant, saucy and transcendent. This first look behind the curtain catches him at the controls--a writer whose human complexities intrigue, and whose artistry remains elusive, enthralling, essential. The Burning World crackles and gleams--a fascinating biography!" -J. D. McClatchy, Poet and Critic
"One of the best lives I have read in years. Time and again I found myself provoked not just to a new understanding of White's life and work, but to a fresh consideration of how for a gay person to fully identify as gay today sparks creativity. But only if that identity is seen not as limiting, but as contributing to the larger culture. One must see oneself as White clearly does: just as he is always but never American, so also his self-understanding, entirely gay is always more than gay." --Douglas Shand Tucci, author of The Art of Scandal : The Life and Times of Isabella Stewart Gardner
"It is, in truth, the writer and not the writing that is extraordinary--in the purity with which he has maintained a life in desire. ...Barber has written a brilliant book in celebration of this rare quality, and in places--I think particularly of his harrowing account of Hubert Sorin's death from Aids in Morocco--he rises to heights of which his subject (and friend) must surely be proud." --Independent on Sunday