In the City of Shy Hunters; a Novel.

Tom Spanbauer

Published by Unknown, 2001
ISBN 10: 1903809061 / ISBN 13: 9781903809068
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Synopsis: For ten years, critics and readers have been eagerly anticipating the next novel from Tom Spanbauer, one of the most brilliant, inventive writers in America today. In June Grove Press will publish In the City of Shy Hunters, Spanbauer's most ambitious work to date. Set against the stark urban landscapes of Manhattan in the 1980s, the novel offers a vivid portrait of New York's fascinating demimonde of junkies and drag queens on the verge of its collapse, just as AIDS is starting to decimate the city's gay population. In the City of Shy Hunters opens in 1983, when William Parker, Spanbauer's most memorable and winning character yet, moves from Jackson Hole to Manhattan, desperate to escape the provincialism of the small western towns in which he has spent his entire life. Impotent, afflicted with a stutter, and struggling with his sexuality, Will is shy and insecure. In New York he finds himself surrounded for the first time by people who understand and celebrate his quirks and flaws. As he slowly learns to accept himself, he becomes wrapped up in one of the most unforgettable romances in recent literature, a love affair with a volatile, six-foot-five African-American drag queen and performance artist named Rose. But even as he grows close to Rose and the others, Will must watch as they are taken from him as AIDS grows from a rumor into a full-scale epidemic. Meanwhile, tension is also mounting between the police and the squatters in his local park -- until a vicious riot breaks out, providing Will with an opportunity for a heroic, transcendent act that will leave readers shaken, fulfilled, and changed.

From Publishers Weekly: An expertly drawn, starkly authentic, early-1980s Manhattan provides the setting for this sprawling novel by Spanbauer (The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon). It tells the story of Will Parker, a young man from Jackson Hole, Wyo., who comes to the "Wolf Swamp" of New York in search of his boyhood first love, Charlie. After Will secures a seedy apartment, a bevy of tough, typecast but blissfully genuine New Yorkers immediately materialize. Among them are drug-addled Ruby and her Indian sidekick, True Shot; Fiona, the tenacious waitress who robustly trains Will at his new restaurant job; and "Shakespearean drag queen" and upstairs neighbor Rose, with whom he falls in love. But while dramatic temperaments and sequined wardrobes are being sorted out, AIDS, gay fiction's great leveler, has already begun claiming victims. Spanbauer's rapid-fire narration and clipped sentences generate a surprising amount of tension and gritty emotion, as does his vibrant, dead-on dialogue and keen sense of place. The high points come along the trajectory of Will's awakening sense of self, first when Rose drags him to his first Gay Pride parade and then, as years pass and the plague intensifies, when he witnesses the sudden death of friends. This is a big, brazen, histrionic work of fiction, one that pays respectable, if unsentimental, homage to a devastating period in gay history. However, the overstuffed plot crammed with a swirling pageant of madcap characters (even a dance-floor cameo by Elizabeth Taylor) and a brewing imbroglio concerning squatters rights may exhaust readers before the epic tome reaches maximum velocity. (June)Forecast: Spanbauer fans will expect a more cohesive effort, but this is a fitting opus for Gay Pride Month. The book's striking turquoise cover art and Spanbauer's name in red will attract readers' attention, as will a 14-city author tour.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: In the City of Shy Hunters; a Novel.
Publisher: Unknown
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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