Faggots by Larry Kramer
Faggots by Larry Kramer
Graphically sexual and one of the most all-time best-selling gay novels, Faggots is the story of Fred Lemish, who at thirty-nine has built up his body into a fatless state of being in Great Shape. Lemish is ready to find Mr. Right. But from the Everhard Baths to the Pines on Fire Island to that place of myth and story, The Meat Rack, he is looking for his dream lover in all the wrong places. Faggots is a fierce satire of the gay ghetto and a touching story of one man’s desperate search for permanence, commitment, and love.
Published by Grove Press
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Larry Kramer is a writer and an activist.
In 1981, with five friends, Larry Kramer founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis, still the world’s largest provider of services to those with AIDS.
In 1987, he founded ACT UP, the international AIDS advocacy and protest organization. It is because of ACT UP and its supporters that the life-saving drugs now available to those with hiv were forced into birth and being.
After receiving his B.A. from Yale in 1957, he entered the film industry, becoming Assistant to the President of, first, Columbia Pictures, and then United Artists. He lived in London from 1961-1970, where he produced and wrote the screenplay for the film of D. H. Lawrence’s classic novel, Women in Love. His screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award.
His play about the early years of AIDS, The Normal Heart, has been produced all over the world. It was named as one of the Hundred Greatest Plays of the Twentieth Century by the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain. It was originally produced by Joseph Papp at this very theater in 1985, starring the late Brad Davis, followed by Joel Grey. Other actors who have performed Ned Weeks include Richard Dreyfuss (in Los Angeles), Martin Sheen (at the Royal Court in London), and Tom Hulce and then John Shea in the West End.
The Destiny of Me, the continuing story of the life of Ned Weeks, ran for one year off Broadway at the Lortel Theater, was a finalist for the Pulitzer, was a double Obie winner, and received the Lortel Award for Best Play of the Year. Its recent 2002 London fringe production was hailed as the Best Play in London during its brief run there. The Destiny of Me is rarely performed.
His Just Say No, A Play about a Farce, (1988), is about how sexual hypocrisy in the Reagan administration allowed AIDS to become a plague; it concerns a First Lady, her gay son, and the closeted gay Mayor of America’s “largest northeastern city.” Its New York production, starring Kathleen Chalfont, Tonya Pinkens, and David Margulies was prized by the few who came to see it.
His 1978 novel, Faggots, continues to be one of the best-selling of all gay novels.
All of this work, including his screenplay for Women in Love, is in print from Grove Press.
His collection of AIDS journalism and essays, Reports from the holocaust, the making of an AIDS activist, is still available from St. Martins Press. It will be revised and updated and issued anew by Grove when the author gets around to it.
He is currently several years away from completing what he hopes will be the work for which he will be most remembered, The American People: A History, now some 3000 pages long. He has been working on it since 1978. His editor tells him its great and he must not cave in before the finish line.
He is a recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and he is the first creative artist and the first openly gay person to be honored by a Public Service Award from Common Cause.
In the year 2001 one of Kramer’s most cherished dreams came true with the establishment of the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale. Funded by his brother Arthur and supported by the University LKI has quickly become one of the most outstanding centers for gay studies in the world.
On December 21, 2001, Kramer was the 22nd person co-infected with HIV and hepatitis B to receive a liver transplant, from which he has miraculously and spectacularly recovered.
Kramer lives in New York and Connecticut with his lover, architect/designer David Webster.
Of all the many things said about him, Kramer is particularly proud of the following: “Larry Kramer is one of America’s most valuable troublemakers. I hope he never lowers his voice.” (Susan Sontag) And: “There is no question in my mind that Larry Kramer helped change medicine in this country for the better. In American medicine, there are two eras. Before Larry and after Larry.” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a director of the National Institutes of Health and America’s leading AIDS doctor (As quoted in The New Yorker).
PRAISE FOR FAGGOTS:
“A Vesuvian explosion about the gay life that spares no one and no thing . . . there is much truth and honesty to be found here.” –Seymour Krim, Chicago Tribune
“True comic brilliance–a vicious Swiftian satire that, like all satire, contains a strong moral voice.” –New York
“Faggots, for all its excesses, is frequently right on target and, when it is on target, is appallingly funny.” –Edward Albee
“Larry Kramer has more than come out of the closet, he’s housecleaned the neighborhood. Faggots is a novel of courage . . . a journey worth the chronicle . . . a noble gesture.” –Baltimore Sun
“Larry Kramer is one of America’s most valuable troublemakers. I hope he never lowers his voice.” –Susan Sontag
“The liberation of sexuality from the bonds of moralism has left in its wake a crying need for principled, intelligent, vigorous explorations of how a genuine morality can be introduced to our newly minted freedom.
This exploration is a central part of Kramer’s historically significant literary work, of which Faggots constitutes an important beginning and a key. As a documentation of an era, as savage and savagely funny social parody, as a cry in the wilderness, and as a prescient, accurate reading of the writing on the wall, the novel is peerless and utterly necessary. It is brilliant, bellicose, contemptuous, compassionate and–as is true of everything Kramer writes–behind its delectable, entertaining, sometimes maddening harshness is a profoundly moving plea for justice and for love. There are few books in modern gay fiction, or modern fiction for that matter, that must be read. Faggots is certainly one of them.” –Tony Kushner
‘since his screenplay for D. H. Lawrence’s Women in Love in 1969, Larry Kramer has been a prophet of psychic health and catastrophe among us–a prophet unmatched for the accuracy of his omens and the reliability of his anathemas and remedies. His uncannily foresighted novel Faggots appeared in 1978 just as the AIDS virus flooded whole wings of the American bloodstream; now its Swiftian portrait of an all but vanished subculture stands as that culture’s visible memorial. His later plays have been clear as firebells, memorable as tracer bullets.” –The American Academy of Arts and Letters citation, May 1996
“[Faggots] sends up New York’s self-imposed gay ghetto, doing for its gyms, discos, orgy rooms, army fatigues, mustaches, and advertising agencies what Portnoy’s Complaint did for Mom and masturbation. Faggots is the Uncle Tom’s Cabin for homosexual men whose worst oppression is their lack of courage to change the way they live.” –Library Journal
“A corrosive study of the gay underbelly of New York . . . Faggots has the air of a Restoration comedy in its mix of Baroque style and bawdy, scathing humor.” –Women’s Wear Daily
“A book of major historical importance–the first contemporary novel to chronicle gay life with unsparing honesty and wild humor. Larry Kramer has changed the way we think about gay men. He is one of our great humanists.” –Erica Jong
“Writing as always from an affirmatively homosexual point of view, Kramer in this novel conveys a sense of premonitory unease, even foreboding, about the spread of promiscuity, sadomasochism and narcotics among the homosexual population . . . more graphic than James Baldwin or Hubert Selby.” –Times Literary Supplement
“It would come to resemble her, Picasso said of his Stein portrait–and so with Kramer’s of New York gay life, which I had thought so entertaining, so extravagant, ever so preposterous a lustrum ago. It has come to resemble it, in tragic guise, but with tremendous application to our discordant truth: Faggots is still the mirror we must look into, fun-house or carnal-house–it shows the man.” –Richard Howard
“Faggots struck a chord. It exuded a sense that gay men could do better if they understood themselves as fully human, if they could shed their self-loathing and self-deception. . . . I loved it.” –Andrew Sullivan