The Cosmopolitans

The Cosmopolitans

Book - 2016
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A modern retelling of Balzac's classic Cousin Bette by one of America's most prolific and significant writers. Earl, a black, gay actor working in a meatpacking plant, and Bette, a white secretary, have lived next door to each other in the same Greenwich Village apartment building for thirty years. Shamed and disowned by their families, both found refuge in New York and in their domestic routine. Everything changes when Hortense, a wealthy young actress from Ohio, comes to the city to "make it."
Publisher: New York, NY : Feminist Press, at the City University of New York, 2016
Edition: First Feminist Press edition
ISBN: 9781558619104
Call Number: F SCHULMAN
Characteristics: 377 pages ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

Bette, a straight white woman, and Earl, a gay black man, meet as neighbors in New York City in the 1950s and bond over shared social isolation, re-imagining what family means.

Compelling historical fiction about two outsiders who push the limits of self-determination in 1950's New York City, building their own unlikely family unit, which is almost shattered by the appearance of an unlikely visitor.

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Dec 17, 2016

I loved this book. It’s the story of two lonely people, one a white female who fled her small town life in Ohio and the other a black gay man who fled his family in the south. They’ve lived side by side in different apartments since they met. He’s a struggling actor, forced to take a job in a slaughterhouse. She has a mundane job as a secretary in an advertising firm. Their New York City story spans the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s and their friendship is responsible for their survival. If a story could be called “beautiful” that’s what I’d call this book.


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