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Andrew Holleran Biography

(1948– ), Dancer from the Dance, Nights on Aruba, Ground Zero, The Violet Quill Reader

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American novelist, educated at Harvard and at the University of Iowa. Little is known of his life or his real name, although Holleran has intimated that the white, affluent milieu of his novels reflects his own life. His first novel, Dancer from the Dance (1978), was a major break-through in mainstream gay fiction. Narrated by the campy Sutherland, it describes the rise and fall of Malone, a young gay man old before his time, prodded into the frantic underground of parties, drugs, and promiscuity in Manhattan and on Fire Island. Nights on Aruba (1983) chronicles the life of Paul from his birth in Aruba through middle age; written as extended flashback triggered by an impending visit to parents in Florida, he negotiates between his overtly homosexual New York life and the straight mask worn for his family. While neither novel explicitly touches on the impact of AIDS, they are permeated with a sense of metaphorical doom which lies at the core of gay existence. The essays in Ground Zero (1989) do reflect Holleran's responses to the disease and to the deaths of those around him. Holleran was a member of the ‘Violet Quill’, an important collective of gay male writers, including Felice Picano, Edmund White, and Robert Ferro, whose correspondence with Holleran can be found in The Violet Quill Reader (1994).

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