web site hit counter The Beauty of Men - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Beauty of Men

Availability: Ready to download

A universal tale of loneliness, aging, and the desires of the human heart, Holleran's long-awaited third novel tells the brilliant, passionate story of a man ashamed to be mourning the loss of his own youth as so many around him die young. Lark is obsessed with the beauty of youth and his own mortality, his hairline and the loss of so many of his friends to AIDS, and, abov A universal tale of loneliness, aging, and the desires of the human heart, Holleran's long-awaited third novel tells the brilliant, passionate story of a man ashamed to be mourning the loss of his own youth as so many around him die young. Lark is obsessed with the beauty of youth and his own mortality, his hairline and the loss of so many of his friends to AIDS, and, above all, with a stunningly virile man who haunts his days and his dreams.


Compare

A universal tale of loneliness, aging, and the desires of the human heart, Holleran's long-awaited third novel tells the brilliant, passionate story of a man ashamed to be mourning the loss of his own youth as so many around him die young. Lark is obsessed with the beauty of youth and his own mortality, his hairline and the loss of so many of his friends to AIDS, and, abov A universal tale of loneliness, aging, and the desires of the human heart, Holleran's long-awaited third novel tells the brilliant, passionate story of a man ashamed to be mourning the loss of his own youth as so many around him die young. Lark is obsessed with the beauty of youth and his own mortality, his hairline and the loss of so many of his friends to AIDS, and, above all, with a stunningly virile man who haunts his days and his dreams.

30 review for The Beauty of Men

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    Selected by my boyfriend after an argument where he accused me of never reading the books he recommends to me, I was disappointed that the entire reading experience made me feel like a passive witness, recognizing the undeniable literary brilliance, but only feeling it at a distant, cold remove. This was particularly disappointing considering this is one of his very favorite books. Rather than empathizing with the overwhelming despondency over the way the AIDs crisis, geographical isolation, per Selected by my boyfriend after an argument where he accused me of never reading the books he recommends to me, I was disappointed that the entire reading experience made me feel like a passive witness, recognizing the undeniable literary brilliance, but only feeling it at a distant, cold remove. This was particularly disappointing considering this is one of his very favorite books. Rather than empathizing with the overwhelming despondency over the way the AIDs crisis, geographical isolation, personal circumstances, and unreciprocated desire has left the main character's life in a state of utter ruin, I was surprised to find myself more wrapped up in–and ultimately moved by–the gut-wrenching sadness hovering over his mother's debilitating health condition(s). I still find it a bit mystifying that I generally seem more capable of relating to the queer literary output of the pre-Stonewall era than the literature that blossomed under the advancement of the Gay Rights Movement, and while acknowledging its great accomplishment, literary skill and observational acuity, The Beauty of Men ultimately reaffirmed this situation yet again. [Capsule review from the post My Year of Reading Queerly over at my blog, Queer Modernisms.]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Frederick

    This is a very controlled novel about isolation. Published in 1997, it is the story of a gay man who has been almost entirely cut off by the gay community. Because of the AIDS crisis, he finds virtually no gay men his age to befriend. Younger men have no desire to know him, for a variety of reasons: He is not young, he is not powerful and he is not wealthy. Above all, the specter of AIDS causes other gay men to be wary of him. He is a pariah among gay men due to his date of birth. This novel coul This is a very controlled novel about isolation. Published in 1997, it is the story of a gay man who has been almost entirely cut off by the gay community. Because of the AIDS crisis, he finds virtually no gay men his age to befriend. Younger men have no desire to know him, for a variety of reasons: He is not young, he is not powerful and he is not wealthy. Above all, the specter of AIDS causes other gay men to be wary of him. He is a pariah among gay men due to his date of birth. This novel could have been maudlin or preachy. Instead, it is intense without being shocking and angry without being rageful. The prose is graceful. I would recommend this to any serious student of literature.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adam Dunn

    More than a book about the aftermath of the AIDS crisis this is really a book about aging in a youth obsessed gay culture. I had made the decision to read all of Holleran’s work after reading Dancer from the Dance and Grief, but after reading this book and Nights in Aruba, I am rethinking. Ultimately concern about growing old, especially to this mid-life crisis level presented in the book, just seems so vain. I’ve heard this story before from others, how they are now invisible when they go into a More than a book about the aftermath of the AIDS crisis this is really a book about aging in a youth obsessed gay culture. I had made the decision to read all of Holleran’s work after reading Dancer from the Dance and Grief, but after reading this book and Nights in Aruba, I am rethinking. Ultimately concern about growing old, especially to this mid-life crisis level presented in the book, just seems so vain. I’ve heard this story before from others, how they are now invisible when they go into a bar after they reach a certain age. These same people will acknowledge that they treated older men the same way when they were younger but are now painting themselves as the victim when it happens to them, as if a 20 year old was looking to hook up with someone who’s 60 on a Saturday night. I don’t really understand this and I don’t have much patience for it. When I went out when I was younger I never went for the best looking guy in the place, I went for someone uniquely attractive to me and let my attitude and enthusiasm carry me through. My personality has only gotten better with age, easier to control, so I don’t feel I’ve lost anything. I found the sections of the book about Becker, Lark’s ideal and one-night fling almost impossible to read, I’m reading them looking through my fingers because I’m cringing so much. Even Lark’s rationale for loving Becker is flawed, as this passage about late-night trysting place the boat ramp reveals: “But that’s why I love Becker. He doesn’t go to the boat ramp! He went that one night just to see what it was like. And he’s never been back since. He said he liked to talk to people first. He’s the exception to the boat ramp. An escape from the boat ramp.” So Lark goes to the boat ramp to meet someone who doesn’t go to the boat ramp. Do you know how many gay men do this with the bars to this day? It’s maddening and self-destructive and if you can’t get yourself off this cycle I don’t really have time for sympathy. The book is well written, as is all of Holleran’s work, and full of great observations: “The functional disappear at the baths almost immediately: They are having sex. The dysfunctional remain in view, sitting in the TV lounge or on a bench in the locker room, like Lark—a penitent in the street before Santiago de Compostela, asking only the pity of the passerby.” I just wish the characters were a little more aware of themselves. I did like Eddie, the 70 year-old man who cruises during the day like others play golf, it keeps him busy. He goes home to his dog at night and Lark sees it as terrible, every gay man’s worst nightmare, getting old alone. I see Lark’s life as the nightmare, caught up in the past and unable to live in reality. Give me a dog over this any day.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    My feelings about this book are a little complicated. Very little happens - the narrator pines after a one-night stand while caring for his quadriplegic, elderly mother. Things don't come to a head until the book is almost over. Holleran is a real charmer with description, and I love how expansive and meditative he is. The main character is a self-admitted hypocrite when it comes to judging others for their age and beauty. He suffers a loneliness that we watch him inflict on those around him. Th My feelings about this book are a little complicated. Very little happens - the narrator pines after a one-night stand while caring for his quadriplegic, elderly mother. Things don't come to a head until the book is almost over. Holleran is a real charmer with description, and I love how expansive and meditative he is. The main character is a self-admitted hypocrite when it comes to judging others for their age and beauty. He suffers a loneliness that we watch him inflict on those around him. The last four or five chapters, which follow a confrontation with the unrequited love, are the best in the book and stand among Holleran's best work. The book is purposefully meandering, though. I love Holleran's writing, but I did feel that the first two-thirds of the book were unnecessarily repetitive. It's tough - repetitive it's what this sort of story calls for. Anyway, this is a very powerful book about aging and loneliness. Holleran's Grief is this book's unofficial sequel. Though that book is more compact, I much prefer the expansiveness and intimacy of this one.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Although I find Holleran's writing to be beautiful especially when setting the scenes endlessly switching from flashback to flashback, I couldn't get into the content with enough conviction. Lark is our main character torn between leaving NYC for "twelve days" and now, twelve years later, Lark, 47 yrs old, is still here in Gainsville, Florida taking care of his quadriplegic mother and reminiscing on the earlier days of youth and beauty and men... He becomes a stalker, obsessing over a sexual enc Although I find Holleran's writing to be beautiful especially when setting the scenes endlessly switching from flashback to flashback, I couldn't get into the content with enough conviction. Lark is our main character torn between leaving NYC for "twelve days" and now, twelve years later, Lark, 47 yrs old, is still here in Gainsville, Florida taking care of his quadriplegic mother and reminiscing on the earlier days of youth and beauty and men... He becomes a stalker, obsessing over a sexual encounter he once had 10 years prior in the mensroom near the local boat dock that he continues to prowl. And now his perspective on Life is jaded, lost, depressing, death. Age and AIDS...grim

  6. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Juhl

    Perhaps one of the most haunting books I've ever read, with sentences that still resonate for me. It's a depressing read, if you're a gay man of a certain age, but it is Holleran's langorous writing that lifts this book into an art form.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bryant

    I am glad this book exists, because it captures the impact of a horrible disease on a particular group of people at a specific moment in time. But man I did not love reading this book. The narrator is so sad, so defeated, in ways that elicit frustration more than sympathy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ghalib Dhalla

    Anything Holleran writes is pretty much sacred to me. An achingly beautiful novel with prose that practically sings.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    Andrew Holleran strikes again with yet another story that strikes at the heart of gay life in his book being gay and aging, "The Beauty of Men." Following the late-in-life story of Lark, a man reeling from the deaths of all his friends by AIDS the decade prior and living alone in North Florida to care for his dying mother, "The Beauty of Men" is a tale of the loneliness that seems to accompany gay life in the 90s, when all hope, friendship, and companionship has died and left you behind. Unafraid Andrew Holleran strikes again with yet another story that strikes at the heart of gay life in his book being gay and aging, "The Beauty of Men." Following the late-in-life story of Lark, a man reeling from the deaths of all his friends by AIDS the decade prior and living alone in North Florida to care for his dying mother, "The Beauty of Men" is a tale of the loneliness that seems to accompany gay life in the 90s, when all hope, friendship, and companionship has died and left you behind. Unafraid to confront the issues of aging, changing bodies, and the challenges of being older in a gay community obsessed with youth, Lark embodies the loneliness we as gay men so greatly fear as we age. Sometimes overdrawn with too much nostalgia and a bit much "bitter old queen" talk, much of this book still remains essential: a reminder to care for our elders and that loneliness happens in our community but is something we should, young and old, fight together against.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    Not necessarily universal, but an exploration of what can happen to Gay men who are aging and alone. It is colored somewhat by the effects of the AIDS epidemic on survivors in the 90's. Still for those who still have time, it is a warning to prepare yourself for your elder years. The comparison of Lark's and his mother's situation is apt. 9 of 10 stars

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    What a miserable book. Extremely reptitive with no pathos, catharsis or movement of plot. At 270+ pages it’s too long and the titular character is rather unlikable with little redeeming qualities (even molesting an unconscious man). A painful read even if enlightening on the ramifications of the AIDS crisis.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mikael Kuoppala

    In his third novel Andrew Holleran explores the subjects of aging and loss. The protagonist is Lark, a middle aged gay man who is faced with the cold truth of lost youth. Lark's life is filled with aimless midnight cruising and lonely moments of despair in his empty apartment. He has lost his professional drive a long time ago and most of his closest friends have fallen victim to the AIDS epidemic. Lark's whole existence is completely saturated with the dull despair of someone who grieves after In his third novel Andrew Holleran explores the subjects of aging and loss. The protagonist is Lark, a middle aged gay man who is faced with the cold truth of lost youth. Lark's life is filled with aimless midnight cruising and lonely moments of despair in his empty apartment. He has lost his professional drive a long time ago and most of his closest friends have fallen victim to the AIDS epidemic. Lark's whole existence is completely saturated with the dull despair of someone who grieves after lost opportunities and the beauty he sees around him and is now unable to reach. "The Beauty of Men" is a lament, but one that doesn't feel over the top or too self conscious. It's an honest and beautiful character study filled with keen observations about a modern life as it is gradually nearing its latter half. Holleran's language is lucid, yet lyrical and melancholic. It's extremely disturbing how obsessively Lark grieves because he cannot satisfy the sexual longing he feels towards men he is now invisible to. Even more disturbing is how desperately he longs after the feeling of desire itself. I thought the numbing of primal urges is the main good thing about growing old and supposedly wise. Well, however it actually goes, Holleran's writing is alarmingly plausible. In the middle of all the bitterness about unattained beauty and longing, aging and eventual death are most effectively present in scenes that takes place in a nursing home Lark visits daily to take care of his paralyzed mother. The interaction between mother and son is powerful in its hopelessness and sad beauty. And the atmosphere of a place where life is quietly dimming is strongly presented and I think crystallizes the essence of this magnificent piece of modern literature.

  13. 5 out of 5

    JSidelinger

    "The Beauty of Men” is a poignant story of loss and loneliness told from the perspective of Lark, 47 years old, residing in Florida to take care of his invalid mother. Lark was young in the heyday of the 70’s when beautiful men enjoyed a carefree hedonism yet unaffected by the AIDS epidemic. It is a sad story filled with pathos and angst, as Lark recounts his friends from his glory days (all of whom have died), while he is aging alone without love, yet continually seeking it in the places he fee "The Beauty of Men” is a poignant story of loss and loneliness told from the perspective of Lark, 47 years old, residing in Florida to take care of his invalid mother. Lark was young in the heyday of the 70’s when beautiful men enjoyed a carefree hedonism yet unaffected by the AIDS epidemic. It is a sad story filled with pathos and angst, as Lark recounts his friends from his glory days (all of whom have died), while he is aging alone without love, yet continually seeking it in the places he feels reduced to haunting for brief encounters – a secluded boat ramp as an example. There is a sense of melancholy pervasive from beginning to end in this story, but Holleran writes so elegantly, capturing the character’s sense of diminishment so precisely, you appreciate the writer rather than the mood evoked. Lark is a healthy middle-aged man. He is experiencing the natural aging process yet cannot seem to reconcile himself to it. Instead of acceptance and appreciation (he’s alive, he made it through the plague - his friend’s did not), he mourns the loss of youth and beauty - searching it out like the Holy Grail - an acolyte at the altar of younger men rather than the priest. As I read the story of Lark, I kept remembering Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29, “When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state…And look upon myself and curse my fate.” “The Beauty of Men” is eloquent and poetic although I found it somewhat heartbreaking at times. It is not necessarily a “must” read, but it certainly a worthwhile one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Wilcox

    Very eloquent description of life of a gay man in the mid-1980's. Lark has moved to Florida to care for his mother for the past twelve years after she fell and broke her neck. Over the same time period he has watched several of his New York friends die from AIDS. He has a sexual encounter with Becker, a man a little over a decade younger, and becomes almost obsessed with the man. While dealing with his mother's care and his loss of friends, he also tries to deal with growing older in the gay com Very eloquent description of life of a gay man in the mid-1980's. Lark has moved to Florida to care for his mother for the past twelve years after she fell and broke her neck. Over the same time period he has watched several of his New York friends die from AIDS. He has a sexual encounter with Becker, a man a little over a decade younger, and becomes almost obsessed with the man. While dealing with his mother's care and his loss of friends, he also tries to deal with growing older in the gay community. Mildly dated but overall still very relevant and the relationship with his mother is very touching. A good solid novel.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I love how many truths there are in this book related to aging, sexuality and being alone. There's an unforgettable line in it - "When you need a mother, anyone's mother will do." A good friend of mine is a gay man serving a long prison sentence, and he has lamented about aging and living a life devoid of healthy romantic fulfillment. I gave him a copy of this book and it was great conversation fodder. This is a powerful, honest book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    Maybe the most depressing and one of the most beautiful books I've ever read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Santana

    Painfully true. Awfully real. Wonderfully incisive.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Yarbrough

    I first read this book right after it came out in the mid 90's. I was in my twenties then and just recently discovered Andrew Holleran. Clinging to every word he'd written, I devoured his latest book about an aging gay man who is caring for his paraplegic mother while also obsessing over a man he picked up at the boat docks one night. I couldn't relate to it. It was just a slice of gay life I had yet to experience myself. I was happy to be reading a new book from an author I loved. Now in my 40s, I first read this book right after it came out in the mid 90's. I was in my twenties then and just recently discovered Andrew Holleran. Clinging to every word he'd written, I devoured his latest book about an aging gay man who is caring for his paraplegic mother while also obsessing over a man he picked up at the boat docks one night. I couldn't relate to it. It was just a slice of gay life I had yet to experience myself. I was happy to be reading a new book from an author I loved. Now in my 40s, I reread it and came away with a whole new relatable experience. I've experienced the loneliness and obsession of the main character, Lark. The scenes of him visiting his mother in the senior center were also relatable, as my dad spent the last three years of his life in one as well. I've lost friends to AIDS. I've reminisced over the way things were "back then." I've mourned my youth and a parent. I've felt invisible and unattractive. The book holds up. It's a classic in gay literature that I'm sure I'll read again in another twenty years. True to life, there isn't much hope in the end, but we don't always need hope to enjoy a book. Sometimes a book should just give us a hard slap in the face and remind us of the better times we've forgotten or wasted.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    If I could give stars just for the ending, I would give this book 4 stars, because the ending was very moving, but I don’t think as a whole it’s a great book. It’s about a pathetic man who whole-heartedly embraces a value-system that devalues and rejects him, and it makes him miserable and lonely. I think this book showed less maturity, and demonstrated less talent, than “Dancer from the Dance,” which Holleran wrote in the 70s. The writing is good, though, and he really does know how to bring a If I could give stars just for the ending, I would give this book 4 stars, because the ending was very moving, but I don’t think as a whole it’s a great book. It’s about a pathetic man who whole-heartedly embraces a value-system that devalues and rejects him, and it makes him miserable and lonely. I think this book showed less maturity, and demonstrated less talent, than “Dancer from the Dance,” which Holleran wrote in the 70s. The writing is good, though, and he really does know how to bring a place to life, even a place as drab and boring as Florida.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Raymond Luis

    This book made me rethink my life as a gay man. I realized through this novel that youth and beauty are not all they are cracked up to be. I recommend this book to any millennial gay male, and reconnect with the pain suffered by our gay forefathers. AIDS ravaged a whole generation and this book is a recollection of that aftermath. The pausing of death through injury and disease, is a deep theme here and it came at a time in my life when I needed to hear about it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Richard Jespers

    The novel is a bleak but beautiful rendering of a forty-seven year-old man who has buried most of his friends having died from AIDS. He also takes care of his mother (for twelve years) until she dies. Answer to the question why gay men are promiscuous is so great: “‘Because,’ he said—thinking, Because sex is wonderful, and who wouldn’t want to do it as much as possible? Because sex is ecstasy, and there’s no ecstasy left in this civilization anymore. Because we thought penicillin could cure every The novel is a bleak but beautiful rendering of a forty-seven year-old man who has buried most of his friends having died from AIDS. He also takes care of his mother (for twelve years) until she dies. Answer to the question why gay men are promiscuous is so great: “‘Because,’ he said—thinking, Because sex is wonderful, and who wouldn’t want to do it as much as possible? Because sex is ecstasy, and there’s no ecstasy left in this civilization anymore. Because we thought penicillin could cure everything. Because people are looking for Love. Because in this society we can’t find support for stable partnerships. Because we’re ashamed, and seek out sex with a stranger we don’t have to say hello to in the street the next day, much less mention at our funerals. Because, because, because, he thought, and then he turned to her and said. ‘Why do you smoke?’” (196). Holleran's allusion to The Great Gatsby is a bit heavy-handed and unnecessary: "But still we go on, he thinks with a sigh as he crosses him legs, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the police station and doctor's office" (73). The greatest last sentence of perhaps any American novel in the twentieth century should not be trifled with, should not be used to carry a heavy load the author didn't wish to lift in that particular sentence.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Fiona Pearse

    I loved this bleak story of loneliness. So cleverly written. I'm afraid it only goes in one direction though so be prepared to feel melancholy! As often when I choose a book, I was intrigued by a world I knew little about and that world was revealed - during a sad time - the 80s and the explosion of AIDS.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This book is pretty reflective on the consequences of vanity in gay male culture. I'm enjoying it quite a bit, and have always enjoyed Andrew Hollerans' books for the cattiness and their frank discussion I find missing from most mediums that depict gay men.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    indulgent and great for anyone who loves holleran because he's oh-so consistent in themes (indulgent male homos pre and post the insurrection of AIDS).

  25. 4 out of 5

    George

    A must read for people aging and revising their outlook on life. The main character in this book is much deeper than the main character in Holleran's first novel (Dancer from the Dance).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A sometimes melancholy, sometimes depressing look at aging in the gay culture, a post-AIDS crisis look at a survivor, beautifully written by a gifted author.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Scott Morrison

    Would have been 5 stars, but it was utterly depressing.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    The most depressing thing I've ever read, but amazingly well written.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angel Pedroza

    I have read every book by this author. This book does not disappoint.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cbernard3

    So sad but so like the era it is written about. Written beautifully with prose.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.