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Gods and Monsters: A Novel Paperback – August 2, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A fine novel…pointed, wry, observant, and wise. I virtually inhaled it in a single reading.” (Peter Straub)

“An engaging read…Bram’s prose has an evanescent quality that evokes his protagonist’s fading consciousness.” (Bay Area Reporter)

“Bram is, quite simply, the best American gay novelist going.” (LA Gay)

“A glorious read from an intelligent and talented writer, and worthy of a space in your library.” (Frontiers)

“A touching fictional portrait of old Hollywood and of one of the curious geniuses who made it what it was.” (Alan Cheuse in NPR’s All Things Considered)

“Witty, moving, entertaining, and enlightening… one of the most remarkable and satisfying novels to come along in quite some time.” (Island Lifestyle)

“As compassionate as it is phantasmic… Bram constructs a compelling fictional narrative.” (Independent Weekly)

About the Author

Christopher Bram is the author of eight other novels, including Gods and Monsters (originally titled Father of Frankenstein), which was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Bram was a 2001 Guggenheim Fellow and received the 2003 Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement. He lives in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (August 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060780878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060780876
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,386,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Morgan on December 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a great book, guys. I came from the angle of being a fan of old Hollywood, and if it's black and white, I've heard of it.

"Frankenstein" is by far the best of the Universal monster movies, and it has a lot to do with the subject of this novel: James Whale. The guy took the unwieldy, even boring, Shelley novel and pulled out the story of a sad monster and the redemption of its creator. He's also the reason why we have "Young Frankenstein" - so there's a lot to love about the guy.

The most intriguing thing about the novel, is the author creating a fictionalized "untold story" of Whale's final days - an act of literary bravado that could easily go wrong, but didn't, and it didn't in a big way. I'll spare you the plot synopsis because if you're reading this, you've already read that, but I will tell you this is a great book in the sense that college classes will make it required reading and the sense of being accessible to the masses.

Don't let anyone fool you: This is not a "movie book" or a "gay book" it's just a book; and a damn good one.

I really dig this particular edition for it's "postscript". It's the kind of stuff DVD extras are made of...an interview with the author, an after word and so on. As someone who invested the time to read the 300+ pages, it was great to hear directly from the author of how he came to tell this story, his thoughts on the movie based upon this book among other things.

Mark my words, soon you will see "Special Editions" of nearly every book you can think of...not just for the insights of the author or analysis of its historical context...but as a marketing tool by which we will end up buying our favorite books all over again. :)
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Format: Paperback
Gods and Monsters (a.k.a. Father of Frankenstein) is a great novel on lots of different levels. It explores the gay world of Hollywood in the 1950s, the impossibility of overcoming stereotyping (can we say Joseph Heller?), and the way that the horrors of the First World War were morphed into a classic horror movie, among other themes.

But most of all, Gods and Monsters is about life and death. What gives meaning to life? Can one grow into life by being part of another man's death? Why is death so feared? These questions are all raised and adressed, although the answers are left for the reader to determine.

I have read many gay novels, and this one is a masterpiece. It transcends the genre and approaches the level of the great writers of our time. Well worth reading!
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Christopher Bram, in Gods and Monsters, has created a beautifully poignant novel that tells of a friendship between famed movie director James Whale (Frankenstein; Bride of Frankenstein; Show Boat) and fictional character Clayton Boone, Whale’s supposed yard man. Some of what’s here is truth; most of it is invented. But Bram creates a lovely relationship between a aging and dying gay man and a young man who sees Whale’s pain and, though not gay himself, is sensitive enough to provide the support the older man needs. All this takes place in the late 1950s, a period that Bram evokes brilliantly. Having read this book and another of Bram’s, that one set during WWII, I marveled at the ease and skill Bram has at creating the atmosphere of another era. His writing is flawless in that respect, and it is flawless in his character development, as well. Originally titled Father of Frankenstein, the book was re-titled when an Academy-award winning film was made of it. God and Monsters is a perfectly fitting title. The film, winning for its screenplay based on Bram’s novel and written by its director, is a wonderful film. This novel, its source, is wonderful as well. Unlike many film adaptations, these two works compliment and complement each other. Read the book; see the movie. Time well spent.
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The descriptions on Amazon of Gods and Monsters, first published as Father of Frankenstein, do not do the book justice. This novel, about the last (fictionalized) days of the director of the Frankenstein movies, is simply marvelous. It takes as its premise a simple situation: an ailing, homosexual director, his fame long-gone stale, gets the idea to incite his very masculine, working-class landscaper into murdering him because he doesn't have the courage to commit suicide. A modern, minor masterpiece of psychology and subtext, the sleek, subtle plot creates a page-turner which never loses site of its deeply drawn, sympathetic, flawed and unique characters. Bram is a master of the simile and has a perfect instinct for story arc and form. The novel could hardly lose or gain a single word without suffering. In every way it is a gem.
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Read this book for a book club, usually I would never read a book like this as I find them boring. I don't like books that take place in the past, even near past very much, and I don't like character driven narratives where the plot is just an 'average' life story. That said, maybe I've matured, or maybe this book was that good. I actually really enjoyed it. I thought even though some people might not find the characters' actions believable, I did. I was never bored with the story. I remember not liking a few of the characters, but not because they were poorly written, just because I didn't like their actions. So I didn't like them in a good way.
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