Books: Gay Culture in New York
James McCourt: Queer Street: Rise and Fall of an
American Culture, 1947-1985
By Joel Kasow
NEW YORK, 28
May 2004James McCourt's Queer Street
disappointsincoherence and structural flaws overpower what could
otherwise have been a worthy successor to Chauncey's Gay New York.
James McCourt's first non-fiction work is one of his longest, reminding
me of those movies where you look at your watch after what seems like ten hours
and discover that in fact ten minutes have passed. The book is filled with the
purple prose that makes reading McCourt's novels such fun, but in this instance
needlessly tire the hapless reader who may be expecting a more linear account
of events. Too often one is tempted to compare the author with a stand-up
comedian who is great when dishing out one-liners but not so great with what
comes in between.
Some of the judgements strike this reader as perverse
(Tippi Hedren as a great actress, Mae West far above the Algonquin crowd or
like Racine); an editor would have been a great help in untangling some of the
needlessly complicated sentences, perhaps also at correcting misspelled names
or foreign phrases. There are endless lists, such as the six and a half page
"Sample Free-Association '50s Queer Syllabus" that do little more than fill a
few pages of this pretentious, overblown tome that certainly does not live up
to the expectations promised by its subtitle.
and Fall of an American Culture, 1947-1985
by James McCourt
Hardcover: 608 pages
W.W. Norton & Company, New York,
Joel Kasow is a senior editor and
member of the editorial board of Culturekiosque.com
Back to Book Review
Copyright © 1996 - 2004
Culturekiosque Publications Ltd.
email to the editors|
Back to Nouveau Magazine |
Back to Culturekiosque
All Rights Reserved.