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The Night Listener.

MAUPIN, Armistead.

4,406 ratings by GoodReads
ISBN 10: 006017143X / ISBN 13: 9780060171438
Published by HarperCollins, New York, 2000
Used Hardcover
From Main Street Fine Books & Mss, ABAA (Galena, IL, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Small 4to. Glazed paper over boards with original translucent yellow wraparound band. 344pp. Near fine/fine. A handsome first edition, signed large, bold and sloppy (as usual) by the author in black fineline on the title page. Bookseller Inventory # 30924

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Night Listener.

Publisher: HarperCollins, New York

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Gabriel Noone is a writer whose late night radio stories have brought him into the homes of millions. Noone is in the midst of a painful separation from his lover of ten years when a publisher sends him proofs of a remarkable book: the memoir of a sickly thirteen-year-old boy who suffered horrific sexual abuse at the hands of his parents. Now living with his adoptive mother, Donna, Pete Lomax is not only a brave and gifted diarist but a devoted listener of Noone's show. When Noone phones the boy to offer encouragement, it soon becomes clear that Pete sees in this heartsick, middle-aged storyteller the loving father he's always wanted. Thus begins an extraordinary friendship that grows deeper only as the boy's health deteriorates, freeing Noone to unlock his innermost feelings. Then, out of the blue, troubling new questions arise, exploding Noone's comfortable assumptions and causing his ordered existence to spin wildly out of control. As he walks a vertiginous line between truth and illusion, he is finally forced to confront all his relationships - familial, romantic and erotic.

As complex and hypnotically engrossing as the best of mysteries, The Night Listener is an astonishing tour de force that will move and challenge Maupin's readers as never before.

Review:

Famed for his newspaper-column Tales of the City saga, Armistead Maupin has made the transition to fully fledged novelist with panache. Maintaining the wit and conversational duelling of the Tales--indeed, sharp-eyed fans will find odd intrusions from the past here--Maupin's The Night Listener is a gripping novel, brilliantly plotted and ultimately extremely moving, exploring "the chance to feel love without boundaries".

When yet another book manuscript drops onto Gabriel Noone's doormat craving his approval, the beloved late-night radio storyteller is sceptical--but this one is different. It's The Blacking Factory, the autobiographical tale of Pete Lomax, a child abused and sold for sex by his parents, who has survived, thanks to his adoptive mother, psychologist Donna. Flattered that this young boy is an inveterate night listener of his shows, Gabriel contacts Pete, and in time their telephone relationship blooms into something approaching father and son--until Gabriel begins to have doubts about who Pete is. At the same time, Gabriel's father falls ill and his life truly becomes "a loose confederation of uncertainties".

Perhaps this new emotional pull isn't altogether unsurprising beause like many others of his generation of gay writers--Edmund White, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano--Maupin is now trading more explicitly in the raw materials of his own life. Gabriel Noone shares much with Armistead Maupin--a writer, whose fame is based on a popular form, raised in South Carolina, based in San Francisco, with a lover who leaves him when it becomes clear he's not about to die, and a same-named and difficult father. But Maupin has always been more cagey than his peers about revealing too much of himself--Noone, like his creator, is "a fabulist by trade", overly given to embroidering his stories, or "jewelling the elephant" as he puts it. And for all it reveals about Maupin the man, in its final pages The Night Listener protects its author's privacy--refusing to distinguish between fact and fiction, and refusing to allow that distinction to become important. --Alan Stewart

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