The Beautiful Room Is Empty

The Beautiful Room Is Empty When the narrator of White s poised yet scalding autobiographical novel first embarks on his sexual odyssey it is the s and America is a big gray country of families on drowsy holiday That count

  • Title: The Beautiful Room Is Empty
  • Author: Edmund White
  • ISBN: 9780679755401
  • Page: 348
  • Format: Paperback
  • When the narrator of White s poised yet scalding autobiographical novel first embarks on his sexual odyssey, it is the 1950s, and America is a big gray country of families on drowsy holiday That country has no room for a scholarly teenager with guilty but insatiable stirrings toward other men Moving from a Midwestern college to the Stonewall Tavern on the night of theWhen the narrator of White s poised yet scalding autobiographical novel first embarks on his sexual odyssey, it is the 1950s, and America is a big gray country of families on drowsy holiday That country has no room for a scholarly teenager with guilty but insatiable stirrings toward other men Moving from a Midwestern college to the Stonewall Tavern on the night of the first gay uprising and populated by eloquent queens, butch poseurs, and a fearfully incompetent shrink The Beautiful Room is Empty conflates the acts of coming out and coming of age With intelligence, candor, humor and anger White explores the most insidious aspects of oppression An impressive novel Washington Post book World

    One thought on “The Beautiful Room Is Empty”

    1. White’s follow-up to A Boy's Own Story is an admirable effort. The language is still extraordinary. The various episodes recounted in the author’s life are certainly free from sentiment – if anything, the author leans towards self-evisceration and distance. Perhaps this absence of nostalgia is what makes the book rather off-putting. In A Boy’s Own, the style was eye-opening. In Beautiful Room, at times it feels a little too self-consciously alienated, as if edmund white himself is fearfu [...]

    2. This is a beautifully written memoir of Edmund going to college and being as gay as it was possible to be, in fact constantly attempting to invent even gayer things to do and to be. This book is hilarious. I think it helps to have a wicked sense of humour if you're in a despised minority (so on that logic war criminals must be a real tonic to be around.) This is not from the book but I remember a news programme from way back, when Aids was at its height. The Queen visited some hospital or anothe [...]

    3. I read this because I was dragooned into leading the discussion for it in one of my book clubs, the octogenarian gay men's book club. It's not really called that but that is how it often feels, given that even 40-year-olds are treated like homunculi. Thanks to the MTA I arrived 45 minutes late, but we still had an interesting discussion. Edmund White is an older gay man, HIV+, and the very recent recipient of the PEN/Faulkner Award for American Fiction. He writes lucid, apollonian prose but seem [...]

    4. Edmund White's writing style is more or less a series of incredibly vivid vignettes linked together through simple chronology. And while the individual events, memories and musings are often beautiful in and of themselves, it has a curiously monotone effect after a while, almost like banging the same chords on a piano over and over--not even the most gorgeous notes can sustain their impact if piled on top of each other with nothing between to showcase their individual merit. That said, White's n [...]

    5. This novel, although I suppose it is usually categorized under gay fiction, is an excellent coming of age novel that picks at the conservative Midwestern society of the late 50s and ends up describing both the promises and failures of New York City in the early to mid 60s. If I had discovered this book in high school, I would have fallen in love with all of the characters and over-identified with their struggle to live as their true selves, although I would have been horrified by the anonymous b [...]

    6. When I went to get this book out of the library, I noticed that one of the subject headings was Stonewall. The timing seemed apt, as the Stonewall movie had just come out, with all the criticism of both white-washing and making the main character cisgendered. Neat, I thought! Maybe this book (fictional) will be a corrective to that.Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you ca [...]

    7. i cried on the subway.a lot of people discredit this book, saying it is not a novel, that it is a thinly veiled autobiography, that the narrator is hard to love. all of these things may be true, but take away from the fact at hand: this is really good writing. the first time "searing" has ever come to mind to describe something i've read. from "i did not travel." on page 223, i don't think i breathed at all while reading the last six pages. sadly, the beautiful room is, in fact, empty - thank go [...]

    8. “I believe no one else can correct our feelings; they are pure, incorrigible.” "Bumping shoulders turned us into chums, and we stole little, embarrassed smiles at each other and looked at our feet. Falling in love is slightly embarrassing because love is a conspicuous and weight thing. It is a marvel. I felt a bit like a hunter who's captured a unicorn and parades it through the town streets, but the crowds were discreet enough not to stare."InThe Beautiful Room is EmptyEdmund White introduc [...]

    9. Titling your novel "The Beautiful Room is Empty" is really asking for it, and this book unfortunately lives up to the insult of its title. The luminous, mordantly insightful writing style White is known for is in full flower here, but it all unspools across the page with no purpose, no heart. The deeply moving emotional bedrock you usually feel grounding you so powerfully while wandering through White's patented haze of romantic, vaguely connected set pieces seemed totally lacking here. The endi [...]

    10. White's vignettes are raunchy, personally implicating, but they're not particularly interesting. He loves an overwrought metaphor and the whole book comes packaged in this wistful voice that has become the standard for the queer memoir. Judy Garland, Greco-Roman mythology-- it's here and it shouldn't be. He gives his types lavish, over the top dialogue, but richly drawn caricatures are still caricatures. Whole experiences get funneled into established outlines for what gay people were supposed t [...]

    11. Tangential story: while in college, I once got furious (but didn't say anything for fear of an outburst) when a classmate said that Alan Ginsburg was responsible for the sort of madness, anxiety, and depravity he wrote about in poems like "Howl." She just couldn't accept that society could marginalize and disenfranchise people to the point where they were capable of such madness."The Beautiful Room is Empty" reminds me a lot of "Howl" -- it's a story of a man who didn't and couldn't fit the stan [...]

    12. You know how you can be doing some mundane task and all of a sudden a random memory just surfaces? For a while you are just reliving that moment and maybe you even smile because that line between the physical and mental world is blurred enough to allow you to. That’s sort of the effect this book has left on me. The Beautiful Room Is Empty is one of the few books that left me with very distinct scenes, as if Edmund White’s memories are now mine. Edmund White is a very talented writer; I think [...]

    13. The title is not a line from a scene in the book. Perhaps it's a warning?I'm no great fan of autobiography but this is one of the best tooled autobiographies. I've ever read. My problem with the book is that it seems to meander through comonplace events that have been told in more engaging ways elsewhere. No matter how nice the cup, poor coffee is still poor coffee. The writing here is excellent and at times brilliant but the story itself is unengaging. While it deals with one man's journey from [...]

    14. You got to atleast give Edmund White credit for crafting such strong visuals regarding sex and the male form: "revealing a hairless chest marbled by blue veins and decorated like a piece of wedding cake with two candle sockets in pink frosting--the erect nipples" (pg. 178). "untidy Minnie Mouse with big thighs of mushroom pallor." (pg. 175)."the tan line suggested poolside swimsuit, frosted glass, sunglasses.But the hickory-hard straining of this cock upward spelled animal--a straight line of as [...]

    15. I felt like I needed some gay literature in my life and was hoping for a dramatized historical fiction that would be perhaps heartwrenching or informative or something. The character was neither likeable, lovable, hatable, or commendable. I had a hard time reading the book because I didn't care what happened to the main character, or even the supporting characters. The last 50 pages were good. All the others I felt were on the verge of poor writing. At least foggy - I felt like the plot had no d [...]

    16. For many gay 'men of a certain age,' this book is all-too familiar on various levels. Sometimes dark, sometimes sexy, sometimes sad. As social acceptance of gays moves forward, this book will, I hope, become a historical record of the not-so-good old days.

    17. Deste segundo livro não gostei tanto como o primeiro, muito por culpa de uma má revisão, abundando as gralhas; o tradutor não é o mesmo e o lirismo do primeiro livro não é alcançado com esta tradução.

    18. Probably more than 3, less than 4, give us 1/2 stars, ! Read on a friend's recommendation. It took me about 4 goes to get into it and even then, it was a bit of a struggle. It's well written, but boring-ish and stream of conscious-y. Not a lot happens, then it does, it's like a snapshot of a story instead of a story. It manages to be dated and modern at the same time. Dated in the sense that gay men see themselves as 'sick', but modern, because it could largely be set now. There are even hipster [...]

    19. Synopsis: This novel is a coming of age book about a gay young man who grows up in Chicago before moving to New York. The US in the 50's & 60's has not yet come to terms with homosexuality (especially in the midwest) and the author writes often about the therapy sessions focused on helping him to become normal (i.e. heterosexual).My Review: The book is also known as an autobiographical novel, so it is hard to know how much of the book is true and how much of the book is based on the author's [...]

    20. I loved this book. White's semi-autobiographical novel serves as wonderful chronicle of one of the types of lives led by gay men of the latter half of the 20th century. In this aspect he is able to catch the beginning of the sexual revolution and the coalescing of the gay rights movement. White is also utterly frank regarding the sexual nature of his life and in this way he delves into the insecurities and eager confusion of young gay men as they try to mature sexually and romantically. I cannot [...]

    21. Edmund White's coming-out novel explores the youth and young adulthood of a mid-western gay man in the 1950s and 60s. It is amazing to see how much attitudes toward gay and lesbian Americans has changed in the last 50 years, as the predominate attitude toward homosexuality seen in the book is as a sickness treated by endless psychiatrists and mental hospitals. I'm not a fan of White's prose, earthbound and narcissistic, but the book redeems itself somewhat in the end, introducing the Stonewall R [...]

    22. Sometimes I have the feeling that we're in one room with two opposite doors and each of us holds the handle of one door, one of us flicks an eyelash and the other is already behind his door, and now the first one has but to utter a word and immediately the second one has closed his door behind him and can no longer be seen. He's sure to open the door again for it's a room which perhaps one cannot leave. If only the first one were not precisely like the second, if he were calm, if he would only p [...]

    23. A Life LivedFrom his college days to business life in New York City we witness the kind and ugly side of gay life in a most descriptive way.

    24. The Beautiful Room is Empty is a well-written coming of age story of a gay white middle-class male in the 1950s. What I especially love about the novel is that it is a time capsule of a time and place I have never experienced in its plethora of pea coats, surprisingly affordable New York City apartments, and silly songs playing on the radio like, "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake." I imagine people who grew up in the 1950s would feel a constant stream of nostalgia while reading the [...]

    25. Second part of Edmund White's fictionalised autobiography on adolescence, young adulthood of a gay man in the 1950s and 1960s. Shows how far we've come and how far we still have to go.

    26. 3.5 of 5 stars – Intelligent Prose, But Still Left Me A Bit Empty.Like Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story, this was an interesting study of a gay YA, conveyed through his own narrative story. This also had similar issues as book 1, but not as much, so I grew to like book 2 a bit more.I actually appreciated the prose more in this one – similar beautiful phrasings, but this time more realistic because it didn't overstretch as much. I thought the prose was at its best describing the emotions [...]

    27. Nicely turned phrases and descriptions.Not a novel.Great title.*Considering I can find only half a dozen works by him, I do wonder why he is so famous. Like other autobiographies, eg. Fry's, the author is rather unlikeable. As with other books I read recently, I have no more sympathy left for needing to have sex with literally hundreds of different men, as if straight people had that option. As with "Surprising Myself", the protagonist moves to NY and wastes time there reading and fucking, but n [...]

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