The City and the Pillar

The City and the Pillar

Book - 2003
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Publisher: New York : Vintage International, 2003, c1948
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed
ISBN: 9780345332714
0345332717
9781400030378
1400030374
Call Number: F VIDAL GO 2003
Characteristics: xix, 207 p. ; 21 cm

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n
Neil333
Feb 08, 2013

'They talked of marriage, secure people whose lives followed a familiar pattern, the experience of one very much like that of the other. But when they tried to advise Jim, none suspected that their collective wisdom was of no use to him, that the pattern of his life was different from theirs. This fact made him sad, as well as annoyed at the never-ending masquerade. He was bored by his own necessary lies. How he longed to tell them exactly what he was! He wondered suddenly what would happen if every man like himself were to be natural and honest. Life would certainly be better for everyone in a world where sex was thought of as something natural and not fearsome, and men could love men naturally, in the way they were meant to, as well as to love women naturally, in the way they were meant to. But even as he sat at the table, pondering freedom, he knew that it was a dangerous thing to be an honest man; finally, he lacked the courage.'

n
Neil333
Feb 08, 2013

“Americans tend to play different roles, hoping that somehow they’ll stumble on the right one.”

n
Neil333
Feb 08, 2013

'They talked of marriage, secure people whose lives followed a familiar pattern, the experience of one very much like that of the other. But when they tried to advise Jim, none suspected that their collective wisdom was of no use to him, that the pattern of his life was different from theirs. This fact made him sad, as well as annoyed at the never-ending masquerade. He was bored by his own necessary lies. How he longed to tell them exactly what he was! He wondered suddenly what would happen if every man like himself were to be natural and honest. Life would certainly be better for everyone in a world where sex was thought of as something natural and not fearsome, and men could love men naturally, in the way they were meant to, as well as to love women naturally, in the way they were meant to. But even as he sat at the table, pondering freedom, he knew that it was a dangerous thing to be an honest man; finally, he lacked the courage.'

n
Neil333
Feb 08, 2013

“Americans tend to play different roles, hoping that somehow they’ll stumble on the right one.”

WebPet Sep 17, 2012

Ëverything in this country is calculated to destroy both sexes. Men are told that their desires are dirty and unwanted. Women are told that they are goddesses and that men are fortunate to be able just to worship them at a distance…"

WebPet Sep 17, 2012

"The real horror of war is the novels which are written about it."

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WhidbeyIslander
Aug 09, 2017

I am often disappointed in newer "gay" books that feature a lot of over-the-top sex but little character development or narrative. Then I pick up a book like this and get carried away by the story (this one has practically no sex in it). Vidal's tale of a man struggling with being attracted to other men, yet not fitting the 1940's stereotype of the limp-wristed queen, is compelling. It follows this character through a 7 or 8 year period and other characters drift in and out of the story as he matures and accepts his own nature. Recommended unless you're strictly looking for hot over-the-top sex.

a
abetwopoint0
Jul 01, 2015

I thought the novel was good, but perhaps lacking in certain plot aspects when compared to contemporary literature. I think these days, from a love story, we want a protagonist who is ultimately going to get what he's been yearning for, even if not quite in the way we expected. Overall, I thought it was very well written because he doesn't try to force a load of description in your head. He gives you just the right amount of information to let your imagination fill in the gaps. What I found interesting, and a little sad about this book (Spoiler Alert!) is that the protagonist does not. In fact, his dream of being with this one person in particular kind of takes control of his life, not allowing him to fully experience what it is like being with anyone else, because he only ever sees it as phase until he can be with his true love. This is what makes the story so bitter in the end, because it's when the protagonist realizes his dreams have only ever been exactly that - something imagined in his mind with no possible reality, do you see how sad this young man's life has been. He had an experience as a youth that was so fulfilling he couldn't possibly get over it until much later in his life, leaving a world of possibilities for this beautiful man in the past by the time you get to the end.

l
lukasevansherman
Dec 15, 2013

Just because something's the first doesn't mean it's the best. Gore Vidal's novel, written while he was in his 20s and released in 1948, is a pioneering gay book. He was one of a few writers in the post-war generation who was upfront about his homosexuality (Ginsberg, Capote, Baldwin) and while this novel is historically important, it's a rather bland read. The pillar of the title refers to Lot's wife and is not a phallic symbol (or is it??).

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WebPet Sep 17, 2012

WebPet thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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WebPet Sep 17, 2012

Coming of age story of 1940s american exploring his gay tendencies.
Was considered explicit for the times but quite tame in 2012.

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