The Heart in Exile by Rodney Garland, W.H. Allen 1953
Cover line: A disturbingly frank novel of homosexuality in London
I discovered this gay British novel, not precisely a pulp but on the pulpy end of the spectrum, through a citation in my favorite book of 2015, The Spiv and The Architect. “Queer novels of the 1950s frequently exploited the continued currency of the traditional moral economy of furniture and design as a useful device for highlighting the domestic propriety of their respectable ‘homosexual’ protagonists,” wrote author Richard Hornsey, using The Heart in Exile as his example. He ties the novel’s detailed description of a bachelor flat to the way “a specter of malignant queerness haunted modern design,” leading to the perception of modern furniture as “an agent of corruption that would seduce children from the normative rituals of family life.” Who wouldn’t be intrigued?
The Plot: The suicide that ends many pulps starts this one. Tony Page, a queer, currently celibate psychiatrist takes on a new patient, Ann Hewitt. Continue reading →
It’s funny how much flies right over your head when you’re young and ignorant. For example, when I first read A Streetcar Named Desire, I totally missed the fact that Stanley rapes Blanche; I thought their only problem was the way Blanche hogged the bathroom (listen, I was only twelve). Even more embarrassing, I’ve watched The Third Man literally dozens of times, but it was only the other night, at Noir City 2014‘s Castro screening that I realized two of the supporting players form a gay couple.
How could I have missed them? Baron Kurtz (Ernst Deutsch) with his little dog and heavy eyeliner, and Dr. Winkle (“Doctor … Read more
The Why Not, Victor Banis, A Greenleaf Classic, 1966
Best Line: “The Why Not represented everything he disliked about gay bars–screaming faggots, drag queens, rough trade. It was cheap and tawdry and, probably because of those qualities, successful.”
The above describes the book as well as the bar. I’ve been doing a little research on gay male pulp, in preparation for the upcoming pulp panel, and from what I’ve read The Why Not was the Women’s Barracks of the genre, a ground-breaking novel that led the way for books like Midtown Queen and Hot Pants Homo. Continue reading →