Archive for the ‘edmund white’ Category

more lives, more desire

August 21, 2007

as promised here (link expired) part two. today we have an excerpt from the chapter my europe.

for more edmund white you can visit his homepage.

additionally you can also hear the man (interviewed by don swaim – several interviews from 1983 to 1991) here (realaudio).

should you prefer the interviews in mp3, go here.


lives of desire – edmund white

August 21, 2007

i do not know where i got the book from – but i was young and gay and hungry for the world outthere. one window to the world is music for me – another window is books. and the book states of desire – travels in gay america was one of the first books to open a window to a gay world – an interesting world, a varied world, a world of exciting options (well, some less exciting).


the book states of desire is a non-fiction work by the writer edmund white – certainly known as co-author of the joy of gay sex, but also known for his fiction and – yes, the attentive reader already knows what’s coming – his biography of jean genet.

so states of desire has in one way satisfied my hunger for description of gay lives when i was in the need for that – but even better, it has incited my curiousity to go out into the world and see for myself.

later on i bought some of his novels, which i have to say weren’t my cup of tea – i do not even remember why i didn’t like them at the time – i guess some time i will have to reread them and see if i am now mature enough to enjoy them.

but white’s name tended to pop up – but for me rather in the context of fighting for gay rights. and for me he is still a reference regarding gay rights – but even in a broader sense of what gay live could include. he is for me still able to show (now also through his work – see below) different approaches to what it could mean to live gay.

i came back relatively late to his literary work – actually only when the farewell symphony came out. under pressure from friends i did read it – and (i have to admit to my surprise) i really liked it. i then also got me the beautiful room is empty – and also liked it…

so since then i have been watching his publications closer. for me edmund white works actually best when he writes about lives – be it as biography or as auto-biography. and having a live as he does, he can certainly tell us some stories!

additionally he gave in 2006 an interview to butt-magazine which was a lot of fun to read – and i loved the picture with the toe… very nice! and it has been a very frank interview – and again he showed possibilities of living…

i have been thinking about this for a while, and to me it seems that there are some personalities, well, rather their work that gets better and better with the ageing of the artist: it seems that they outgrow the need for acceptance of a certain crowd, or that they already have (and recognize for themselves) a status (and an income?) which allows them to now really focus on what they want to say and can’t be bothered too much about a certain social acceptance. somehow i had that feeling reading the latest books of lecarré and ballard, as well as with the work of some musicians (actually marc almond might be in that category now, too). and to me it seems that also edmund white opened up in his work – less, hm… pretentious might be too harsh a word – but he seems to me less trying and a lot more intimate, detailed, to the point. paradoxically that makes his writing better – and for me more touching, relevant.

so what you get now is an excerpt of one of his later works: my lives. my lives is an auto-biography – not in chronological order, but grouped by theme (my shrinks, my father, my mother, my blonds, my genet, etc…). it is a nice way to organize a book, because then you can also read it in the order you want to. so somehow you can take the idea of the shuffle ipod over into print.


i was thinking how to give you a better idea about a book other then just to say: hey, it’s a good book, go and read it! so i came up with the idea that you might enjoy to have some passages read to you. i convinced P to read two excerpts out of this book (he has a cute accent, anyway – and he is generally quite cute – although he prefers the term handsome or just plain hot). just a word of warning: it is in no way a professional reading and very DIY – but i think it still gives you an idea.

the first excerpt is from the chapter my hustlers and you get it here.

the second one is for tomorrow….

moving on to marocco

August 16, 2007

jean genet’s grave at the larache cemetry, marocco. found via

jean genet’s grave at the larache cemetry, marocco. found via

the attentive reader is aware that there is one addition to the topic of jean genet still open (for the time being, at least).

if you got into his works and want to know more about the background of jean genet, or if you first want some background information before getting into his work i highly recommend “Genet – A Biography” by edmund white.


easily available, well written, with a lot of information, translated in many languages – well, it is my book recommendation of the day!


an additional picture – and a map that goes with it comes from horst vries – thank you:

another photo of his grave, and a map on