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Summary

A literary cause célèbre when first published more than fifty years ago, Gore Vidal’s now-classic The City and the Pillar stands as a landmark novel of the gay experience.

Jim, a handsome, all-American athlete, has always been shy around girls. But when he and his best friend, Bob, partake in “awful kid stuff,” the experience forms Jim’s ideal of spiritual completion. Defying his parents’ expectations, Jim strikes out on his own, hoping to find Bob and rekindle their amorous friendship. Along the way he struggles with what he feels is his unique bond with Bob and with his persistent attraction to other men. Upon finally encountering Bob years later, the force of his hopes for a life together leads to a devastating climax. The first novel of its kind to appear on the American literary landscape, The City and the Pillar remains a forthright and uncompromising portrayal of sexual relationships between men.

©1948, 1965 E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Introduction © 1995 by Literary Creation Enterprises, Inc.

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Romantic tragedy

Beautiful, moving story of not just 'coming out of the closet, which is painful and powerful enough, but about our dreams and fantasies that we hold onto, for maybe a lifetime. Vidal skilfully steers the story through the career of a small-town boy, who struggles, really till the end, with his sexuality, although he thinks he's (always temporarily) enjoying himself on the journey. The adolescent fantasy about his boyhood friend continues throughout his life, until the whole thing comes crashing down in the encounter he must have, whatever the consequences. Wonderful. And a narration completely sympathetic and sufficiently tongue-in-cheek to do justice to the work. A pleasure (and pain) to listen to.

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Profile Image for William Osullivan
  • William Osullivan
  • 05-12-19

Do not listen to the introduction!!!!!

Gore Vidal gives away the ending. Not hinting at it, literally saying what happens. Guess what book I won’t be reading now. I can’t believe they included that. So idiotic.

10 people found this helpful