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The 100 best gay books.

This month, by special arrangement, The Advocate is first to announce the 100 Best Lesbian and Gay Novels, as selected by the Publishing Triangle, an association of gay men and lesbians in publishing. This is the most authoritative ranking yet of gay and lesbian fiction throughout history, Offering a few reflections on this literary coming-of-age is Advocate literary critic Robert Plunket.

When I saw Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov on the Publishing Triangle's brand-new list of the 100 Best Lesbian and Gay Novels, I knew it was a brilliant list I've been telling people for years what a gay book it is, only to meet with blank stares. And now here it is at number 60. And you have to love a List that manages to encompass both City of Night (number 22) and Little Women (43). Or a list where Rita Mae Brown (Rubyfruit Jungle, 18) outranks Henry James (The Bostonians, 27).

The list was put together by a jury of 14 lesbian and gay writers, including Dorothy Allison, Christopher Brain, and Sarah Schulman. Criteria include literary merit? influence, and significance to lesbian and gay readers and writers. As Allison puts it? she sought the books that were, simply, "lifesaving." The result is a mixture of Great Books (Remembrance of Things Past, 4; Moby Dick, 64), gay and lesbian classics (Dancer From the Dance, 15; Patience and Sarah, 24), and lesser-known gay novels from all over the world. If you disagree with the judges' picks, don't worry. All this month you're invited to cast your vote for a second, "readers choice" list.

1. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann 2. Giovannis's Room by James Baldwin 3. Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet 4. Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust 5. The Immoralist by Andre Gide 6. Orlando by Virginia Woolf 7. The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall 8. Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig 9. Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar 10. Zami by Audre Lorde 11. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 12. Nightwood by Djuna Barnes 13. Billy Budd by Herman Melville 14. A Boy's Own Story by Edmund White 15. Dancer From the Dance by Andrew Holleran 16. Maurice by E.M. Forster 17. The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal 18. Rudyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown 19. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh 20. Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima 21. The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers 22. City of Night by John Rechy 23. Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal 24. Patience & Sarah by Isabel Miller 25. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein 26. Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote 27. The Bostonians by Henry James 28. Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles 29. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison 30. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers 31. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 32. The Persian Boy by Mary Renault 33. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood 34. The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst 35. Olivia by Dorothy Bussy 36. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith 37. Aquamarine by Carol Anshaw 38. Another Country by James Baldwin 39. Cheri by Colette 40. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James 41. The Color Purple by Alice Walker 42. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence 43. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 44. The Friendly Young Ladies by Mary Renault 45. Young Torless by Robert Musil 46. Eustace Chrisholm and the Works by James Purdy 47. The Story of Harold by Terry Andrews 48. The Gallery by John Horne Burns 49. Sister Gin by June Arnold 50. Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall by Neil Bartlett 51. Father of Frankenstein by Christopher Brain 52. Naked Lunch by William Burroughs 53. The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood 54. The Young and Evil by Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler 55. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson 56. A Visitation of Spirits by Randall Kenan 57. Three Lives by Gertrude Stein 58. Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli by Ronald Firbank 59. Rat Bohemia by Sarah Schulman 60. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov 61. The Counterfeiters by Andre Gide 62. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson 63. Lover by Bertha Harris 64. Moby Dick by Herman Melville 65. La Batarde by Violette Leduc 66. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather 67. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 68. The Satyricon by Petronius 69. The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell 70. Special Friendships by Roger Peyrefitte 71. The Changelings by Jo Sinclair 72. Paradiso by Jose Lezama Lima 73. Sheeper by Irving Rosenthal 74. Les Guerilleres by Monique Wittig 75. The Child Manuela (Madchen in Uniform) by Christa Winsloe 76. An Arrow's Flight by Mark Merlis 77. The Gaudy Image by William Talsman 78. The Exquisite Corpse by Alfred Chester 79. Was by Geoff Ryman 80. Therese and Isabelle by Violette Leduc 81. Gemini by Michel Tournier 82. The Beautiful Room Is Empty by Edmund White 83. The Children's Crusade by Rebecca Brown 84. The Story of the Night by Colm Toibin 85. The Holy Terrors (Les Enfants Terribles) by Jean Cocteau 86. Hell Has No LImits by Jose Donoso 87. Riverfinger Women by Elana Nachman (Dykewomon) 88. The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon by Tom Spanbauer 89. Closer by Dennis Cooper 90. Lost Illusions by Honore de Balzac 91. Miss Peabody's Inheritance by Elizabeth Jolley 92. Rene's Flesh by Virgilio Pinera 93. Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai 94. Wasteland by Jo Sinclair 95. Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing by May Sarton 96. Sea of Tranquility by Paul Russell 97. Autobiography of a Family Photo by Jacqueline Woodson 98. In Thrall by Jane DeLynn 99. On Strike Against God by Joanna Russ 100. Sita by Kate Millett

Find out how to cast your vote for the Publishing Triangle's "reader choice" list of the 100 best gay and lesbian novels at
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Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Date:Jun 22, 1999
Previous Article:Drawn to Style.

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