The Farewell Symphony
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Following A Boy's Own Story (now a classic of American fiction) and his richly acclaimed The Beautiful Room Is Empty, here is the eagerly awaited final volume of Edmund White's groundbreaking autobiographical trilogy.
Named for the work by Haydn in which the instrumentalists leave the stage one after another until only a single violin remains playing, this is the story of a man who has outlived most of his friends. Having reached the six-month anniversary of his lover's death, he embarks on a journey of remembrance that will recount his struggle to become a writer and his discovery of what it means to be a gay man. His witty, conversational narrative transports us from the 1960s to the near present, from starkly erotic scenes in the back rooms of New York clubs to episodes of rarefied hilarity in the salons of Paris to moments of family truth in the American Midwest. Along the way, a breathtaking variety of personal connections--and near misses--slowly builds an awareness of the transformative power of genuine friendship, of love and loss, culminating in an indelible experience with a dying man. And as the flow of memory carries us across time, space and society, one man's magnificently realized story grows to encompass an entire generation.
Sublimely funny yet elegiac, full of unsparingly trenchant social observation yet infused with wisdom and a deeply felt compassion, The Farewell Symphony is a triumph of reflection and expressive elegance. It is also a stunning and wholly original panorama of gay life over the past thirty years--the crowning achievement of one of our finest writers.
have been discussing shekels or drachmas. He blinked and said, ‘Is that considered a lot?’ ” Although I’d read little contemporary poetry since university days, Joshua was immersing me in it again. Most of the time I found it tedious and obscure and I thought it kept its prestige partly because of its ceremonial past and partly because it took so little time to read and to write—a perfect medium for dilettante writers and theory-spinning critics. Each page of a novel could be just as well
unfathomable words). For Ned, “sparkly” didn’t, for instance, mean a brilliant conversationalist. I had one friend, an English writer, who was a dazzling, non-stop raconteur, but Ned found his monologues about Czech porcelain collectors or Nazi novelists tiresome. No, Ned liked people who made a real, sustained effort to draw him out and include him in the conversation and who were big drinkers and would become at the end of the evening either silly or sexual. It wasn’t easy for English or
television and stereo out of the apartment to sell on the street. “He became demented at the very end,” Abe said, “and reverted, mercifully, to his old sweetness. He’d lie with his head on my lap and smile at me. And to think how much he knew! Everything about Egypt, China, Louis XIV …” Hajo’s ex-lover Gerhardt died, as did Gerhardt’s new lover, Italo. Ned’s friend Arturo died; I ran into Arturo’s middle-aged French lover, the one who’d pretended he was interviewing me on a television chat show,
of the New York Institute for the Humanities. In 1983 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Award for Literature from the National Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1993 he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Genet: A Biography. He teaches at Princeton University and lives in New York City. www.edmundwhite.com Books by Edmund White Fiction The Married Man The Farewell
I noticed, had hair as long as mine and thick, Viva Zapata mustaches. For him we were bandits and he our bandit queen. When he and his roommate, the obese bouncer, were at last ready to go, it was seven in the morning. Once we emerged into the daylight I saw that my dancer was a trashy bleached blond with horrible pizza-face acne and rotten teeth, but I was too polite to back out of our date. The bouncer had an old car and drove us to their apartment in a remote section of Brooklyn. My ardor