Exploring Queer themes within a variety of literature

October 2017: Saul's Book by Paul T Rogers

First published 1983

Chosen by James,

"Again a book I discovered in NYC and found it quite accurate based on some of the stories I heard. (By the time I got there Rudy Giuliani had pretty much cleaned all that stuff up). It's Rogers' only novel and the first to win the Editors' Book Award sponsored by Pushcart--for the most distinguished manuscript passed over, for whatever reasons, by the commercial houses. The book is the story of Sinbad (born Steven), a Puerto Rican kid working as a hustler on "the Deuce" (42nd Street); he's into and out of heroin, methadone; and he has a long relationship with Saul--alcoholic, learned, sly, desolate, amoral, and apparently fictionalized version of the author. The book switches between narrator Sinbad's two verbal styles. In the past, he delivers convincing street talk. In the present there's the retrospective Sinbad--who educated himself during a penitentiary stay, who's now looking back and trying to put things in order in tones of unsophisticated over-eloquence.  This contrast is wholly credible--with heartbreak in the fact that the change in language can't really positively rearrange Sinbad's sad life. And the bathhouse, gay-bar, and street atmospheres- I think- nastily realistic. There's no real plot movement, but a masked semi-autobiography masked as fiction. Rogers summons up the ghouls of 42nd St and Times Sq like a necromancer.

"Not for the fainthearted, and certainly far from the prose-style and milieu of the Alan Hollinghurst  I was thinking about putting forward.

Thursday 26th October 7.30pm

The Lamplighter, Northampton