NOW AND YESTERDAY by Stephen Greco


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Greco (Dreadnought, 2009, etc.) slides a slice of American gay culture under the literary microscope. 

Peter and Harold settled in Brooklyn in the 1970s, committed lovers, one with journalism ambitions, the other a poet. Then Harold died during the early days of the AIDS crisis. Peter forgot poetry and built a boutique ad agency, now gobbled up by a conglomerate, where he peddled "goods and services for a brave new world in which more people needed more things." With but one serious relationship post-Harold, Peter lives at the edge of loneliness. Greco believably sketches New York’s gay culture—the right parties, the right place for clothing, and who’s shtupping whom—while watching Peter redefine himself. "[S]till cursed by the lofty intellectual goals and high romantic intentions," Peter laments and dithers and becomes almost a less-interesting character than his friend Jonathan, a celebrated documentary filmmaker dying of prostate cancer. Greco delves artfully into Peter’s stumbling friendship-turned-romance with Will, a young California writer seeking prestige bylines, and lays it against his refusal to take up with rent boys: "[A]t last I can see how sex and love are this one, whole thing." A second narrative thread places Peter at a moral crossroads when his corporate bosses demand he cook up a campaign for a Glenn Beck–like demagogue. With his gift for observation and turns of phrase—"the remains of an intellectual enshrined in the urn of a glamorous career"—Greco offers a book about big ideas rather than action: ideas about gay life; about the depths and importance of friendship; about money and power; about the need for love and sex; and about a man’s moral relationship to who he is and what he does. 

Greco has written a life-affirming yet melancholy, John O’Hara–like analysis of post-baby-boom-meets-millennial-queer Big Apple society.

Pub Date: May 27th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-61773-060-3
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2014


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