The Lost Language of Cranes


Author: David Leavitt

Title: The Lost Language of Cranes

Genre: Gay/Lesbian Fiction

Number of Pages: 308 p.

Geographical Setting: New York City

Time Period: current/ contemporary

Plot Summary: An engaging story of a family, parents Owen and Rose and son Philip each struggling with their own life issues. Rose and Owen have lived in the same middle-class apartment for their entire lives together. The building is now turning co-op and they are threatened with the loss of their apartment and the upheaval of their quiet lives. Their son Philip, is a 25 year old gay man who has a tremendous fear of coming out to his parents. Meanwhile Owen is going through his own personal crisis of his full realization of his attraction to men despite his marriage to his wife. Emotionally charged and written candidly, Leavitt describes the resentment and fears which Rose feels, the distress and confusion which Own suffers from, and the steamy yet painful relationships Philip experiences as he matures.

Subject Headings: Gay men – Fiction, Coming out – Fiction, Parent and child relationship – Fiction, Gay husband – Fiction, Husband and wife – Fiction, New York City – Fiction

Appeal Terms: detailed characters, engaging, introspective, realistic, family-centered, open-ended, candid, edgy, emotionally charged, contemplative, deliberate, sexually explicit

Three Words to Best Describe the Book: candid, emotionally charged, and introspective

Similar Author and Works:

Dancing on Glass by Susan Taylor Chehak. A tale of violence and homosexuality, married man,  Bader Von Vetchen, falls for a young man. His wife, Katherine Craig responds desperately and changes their lives forever.

Tommy’s Tale by Alan Cumming. The story of Tommy in his struggle to resist settling down and his desire to become a father. Written in narrative form with interwoven obscenities, cultural references, and even fairy tales.

The Way Things Ought to Be by Gregory Hilton. A coming of age story of a young gay man’s difficulty in finding himself in the 1970’s.

Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Makings of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey. In New York, during the turn of the century, this book maps out the complex world of gay society before WWII.

The Gay Metropolis: 1940-1996 by Charles Kaiser. Beginning with the sexual openness following the end of WWII, this book gives the account of modern gay life in New York City. The focus is on the gay rights movement and the daily private and personal lives of homosexual men and women.

Boys Like Us: Gay Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories edited by Patricia Merla. This compilation of twenty-eight most admired gay writers tell the tales of their personal lives across the years 1949 to 1995.

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