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Plays Well with Others

Plays Well with Others By Allan Gurganus Plays Well with Others With great narrative inventiveness and emotional amplitude Allan Gurganus gives us artistic Manhattan in the wild s where young artists refugees from the middle class hurl themselves into playfu

  • Title: Plays Well with Others
  • Author: Allan Gurganus
  • ISBN: 9780375702037
  • Page: 134
  • Format: Paperback
  • Plays Well with Others By Allan Gurganus With great narrative inventiveness and emotional amplitude, Allan Gurganus gives us artistic Manhattan in the wild 1980s, where young artists refugees from the middle class hurl themselves into playful work and serious fun Our guide is Hartley Mims Jr a Southerner whose native knack for happiness might thwart his literary ambitions Through his eyes we encounter theWith great narrative inventiveness and emotional amplitude, Allan Gurganus gives us artistic Manhattan in the wild 1980s, where young artists refugees from the middle class hurl themselves into playful work and serious fun Our guide is Hartley Mims Jr a Southerner whose native knack for happiness might thwart his literary ambitions Through his eyes we encounter the composer Robert Christian Gustafson, an Iowa preacher s son whose good looks constitute both a mythic draw and a major limitation, and Angelina Alabama Byrnes, a failed deb, five feet tall but bristling with outsized talent These friends shelter each other, promote each other s work, and compete erotically When tragedy strikes, this circle grows up fast, somehow finding, at the worst of times, the truest sort of family.Funny and heartbreaking, as eventful as Dickens and as atmospheric as one of Fitzgerald s parties, Plays Well with Others combines a fable s high noon energy with an elegy s evening grace Allan Gurganus s celebrated new novel is a lovesong to imperishable friendship, a hymn to a brilliant and now vanished world.
    Plays Well with Others By Allan Gurganus

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    One thought on “Plays Well with Others

    1. Gary Brecht on said:

      You know you ve read a good book when at its conclusion you feel as though you lived another life Alan Gurganus brings us to the Manhattan of the late seventies, early eighties and introduces us to a coterie of aspiring artists Arriving to New York from the hinterlands these young novices live, in some cases, on the fringes of poverty And yet they are wholly dedicated to hone their various crafts until they obtain public acknowledgement of their worth as artists To these young guns the big city [...]

    2. Linda Robinson on said:

      A eulogy for the NY West Village creative community decimated in the 80s, told by a gifted storyteller Gurganus is gregarious in style, unrelenting in sharing the ego, bonhomie and tragedy of the decade He lets us sit at the special green marble round table at Ossorio s under the statue of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and live vicariously the heady personal art world of the young and fabulous, transplanted from the inherited world of golf courses, debutantes, family farms to a bright fast burning [...]

    3. Lauri Royall on said:

      I had such high hopes for this book and they were never realized It started out well enough with Robert in the hospital and his dear friend collecting dildos and kiddie porn from his apartment before his parents arrived I expected the characters to develop and the story to grow For me, that did not happen The characters fell flat when they had the potential to be so much in a city, in a time that was bigger than life Sadly I gave this two stars when my expectation was that it would live up to i [...]

    4. Rob on said:

      Micro review Gurganus has a great, somewhat lyrical style that propels the tapestry of vignettes that comprise this novel that said, he tips his narrative hand in the first 30 pages and you spend the next 450 pages playing a sort of emotional defense.A few miscellaneous points 1 RE vignettes v.s it took me a while to see how the different scenes fit together into a novelistic arc It isn t that the vignettes are unrelated or disconnected viz they re unified by narrator and for the most part by pl [...]

    5. Timothy Juhl on said:

      Unlike his previous efforts in Oldest Confederate Widow and White People , Gurganus falls flat in this messy AIDS era novel.The characters never seem fully fleshed out, the story misses a cohesiveness or direction The promise of the opening pages, a very funny scene on the public transit system involving a grocery bag of sex toys seems to be the only memorable bit of prose Gurganus could offer in this missed attempt to define the AIDS crisis.

    6. Patricia Geller on said:

      Really worked hard to like this book about NY before, during and after the AIDS crisis took out so many artistic young men A novel, but despite the good reviews, found is a shlep and gave up after a hundred pages Could see it as a funny movie.

    7. Susan on said:

      Interesting picture of the author s life in a gay community in NYC leading up to and including the AIDS epidemic A little long for my taste thought it could use some editing.

    8. Seaghdha on said:

      If you want a very sarcastic endearing and altogether inappropriate novel, this is the one for you It s very telling of the 1980 s AIDS epidemic and really goes into detail the nihilistic attitude of those involved It has some sad moments that really give a realistic remorse, but overall it s absolutely hilarious I picked this book up on a whim not even know what it was about, and I was pleasantly surprised by how absolutely genius this is Would without a doubt recommend this to everyone

    9. Deana Munoz on said:

      It s crazy to think that the AIDS epidemic was at its peak around the time that I was born, and that so many lives were lost before we learned how to keep its symptoms in check That being said, a book about something so moving should have moved me, but I barely shed a tear as the inevitable decline of Hartley s circle takes its toll Hard to get throughybe it was the style, or maybe Hartley s narrative Kept with it because it was a decent enough story.

    10. Lisa on said:

      Overall, this was a decent read about the AIDS epidemic, but it was rather slow paced It might have been better had it been 100 pages shorter.

    11. Susan on said:

      If you ever find yourself in the Marriott in Coralville, IA, check out their little library room Since Iowa City is the home of the Iowa Writer s Workshop, they have a library filled with books from authors who have attended the workshop in years past I found this book, read a quarter of it on my last night in Coralville, then promptly downloaded it to my Kindle to finish it.In 1984, I was living in Janesville, WI, and I was in 4th grade The AIDS epidemic had blown up enough that even folks in t [...]

    12. Kkraemer on said:

      I love Gurganus writing and have missed him these last many years when only the occasional short story appeared I was delighted to find this book.He says that the book is fiction I suspect it is, to some degree, but it is obviously based on a truth that could only be understood by one who has lived it He writes of young, smart, artistic, amazing people flocking to New York to live in poverty and urbanity for their art He is a writer A friend is a painter Another friend is composing a symphony Ot [...]

    13. Richard Jespers on said:

      Original prose, if not thought There are two kinds of 70 sets up a dichotomy throughout the book.Turtle is great metaphor for how gay people fare against straight Trudy s brother had been given a new red ax Mistake Through camp one day, a snapping turtle came crawling The thing gathered a crowd, marveling, if from five feet behind Haltered tourists aimed their Kodaks The creature was lead colored, immense, quite visibly ancient Serrated ridges like some dinosaur s stood upright along the domed [...]

    14. Jack on said:

      Allan Gurganus is the prototypical Southern country boy gentleman fleeing an oppressive youth by moving to NYC to become an artist A writer Almost anything that he could not be in small hometown North Carolina And gay, of course His stories are rollicking period pieces from the early 80s, just before AIDS began to stalk the city and pluck off one promising young man after the next Gurganus hero, wonderfully named Hartley Mims Jr meets two instant best friends, and the three set off to take over [...]

    15. Summer Munger on said:

      Gurganus is probably one of the most self aware, yet uncompromising authors I ve ever come across He knows that he has so much to offer, yet he also knows he gets sidetracked, then he tells you he knows this and that you can fuck off if you don t like it For the most part I loved Plays Well with Others but there was one seriously important part of the book that made me want to throw it at the wall Robert.If Hartley is the soul of the story and Angie is the heart, then Robert is the blood that pu [...]

    16. Lora on said:

      NOT LIKE THE AUTHOR S FIRST NOVEL, BUT WORTH READINGI was looking for a similar experience to The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All and thought I found it when I read the Kindle sample with the dildo scene But this book was heavier It was a book I read in small doses.It had a slow start but don t give up As the author wrote, How might I characterize my loved ones subtraction so you won t become jaded or feel bored I do not want to rush I eventually found myself looking forward to my shor [...]

    17. Kevin on said:

      Recommended to me as a great raconteur, and I m convinced Gurganus writes a quasi autobiographical piece about moving from North Carolina to Manhattan immediately before the AIDS outbreak The story most closely follows the narrator a budding writer and two friends one a female visual artist, the other a male composer as they pursue artistic achievement and romantic gratification It s a comedy about AIDS, but according to an interview with Gurganus I just read, there s a difference between jokes [...]

    18. Robert on said:

      Is this semi autobiographical Seems so Nevertheless, outstanding book.I was pulled deep into the story of NYC in the erupting era of AIDS I also like the slice of life of single adults Gurganus doesn t pull any punches on either side of gay culture He points out widespread homophobia in the media as well as describing the sexually loose lifestyle that predominated then Anyway, it s really well written The characters are likable and believable.I noticed that the object of the story, Robert, had v [...]

    19. Ron on said:

      I found this, used, at the Hasting s in Kingman, Arizona I like to go there because they have an interesting selection of books and music for a redneck, desert town with nothing much to recommend it except the junction of highways including Route 66 and the interesting fact that the readers there have very eclectic and sophisticated tastes Anyway this is a very interesting book which describes the lives and society of the arts and gay communities in NYC just before and during the AIDS plague I e [...]

    20. Sherry on said:

      I m having a hard time figuring out the first sentence in this review So many different emotions are swirling around in me I m in awe I m sad I m chuckling This book is powerful, funny, sad, overwhelming and just damned well written It feels as real as a book can feel The Prologue has about the funniest scene I ve ever read in a book I was laughing aloud at the audacity of it The subject matter may scare you off it s about a man taking care of his AIDS stricken friends in New York City at the be [...]

    21. Heather on said:

      I had the weirdest, faintest sense of deja vu while reading this book, though i don t believe I ve read it before I must have read at least the first few pages on a library trip prior to checking it out, because the first major scene in the book where a man carries 3 dozen dildoes in 2 shopping bags on the NYC subway isn t exactly a common trope in the books I usually read, but it was definitely familar Anyway, this is a sad, sad book about the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s The charac [...]

    22. George Ilsley on said:

      Don t really remember this from reading it before, and I felt frustrated with Gurganus style which is florid and indirect and some sentences even had four dashes in them which makes the text feel choppy and under baked On page 291 the character Robert gives an assessment of the writer character s style, and I thought the critique was dead on.Resented having to do so much work for only an occasional pay off However after finishing skipping the appendix, as everyone seems to do the text is still r [...]

    23. Willonda Camille on said:

      this may be the most enjoyable book ive ever read to date has the rare pleasure of being read than once the characters are amusing simple enough to relate to, complex enough to be interesting story has a level of honesty ive never seen in any other book highly recommended everyone should read it in order to humanize the aids crisis community which by the time finish the book, you will understand its marginality is a myth despite the harsh theme, its a very very funny read im going to read it to [...]

    24. Amanda on said:

      Funny and heart breaking You know what is going to happen, but the prose is so engaging that you just have to keep reading to see how it unfolds Hartley and Angie are endearing they put Robert so high on a pedestal that he is difficult to like He s the cool kid that everyone worships except for the outsiders who wonder, what s all the hype about I read it over two years ago and I still giggle about the scene on the subway with the items from Robert s apartment You know what I m talking about.

    25. Sarah on said:

      The language of this book is poetry The story might wander a little in some places, but this is some of the most poignant writing on loss I went back and read contemporaneous reviews, and it seems like the book was marketed as an AIDS book, and I think it is much a book about self and friendship taking place during a specific historical period I would say this is at least 60% of a really amazing book and worth the read for that.

    26. Leslie on said:

      I m surprised hardly anyone has read this book It is one of my all time favorites and it has so much heart with the right amount of grit It s about a group of friends in NYC in the 80s, when the AIDS crisis hit It has one of the best opening scenes ever so hilarious and sad and beautiful at the same time.

    27. Jen Cross on said:

      Plays Well With Others is the story of the early years of the plague and its effect on a queer men s community in Manhattan, written in the voice of a survivor, one of those who tended and cared for and lived at St Vincents and shepherded parents, just in from out of town for the final minutes of their sons lives It s the voice of someone left to record all that was lost.

    28. Gerry LaFemina on said:

      Gurganus walks a tightrope between the comic and the tragic in this beautiful if sometimes indulgent story about a small cadre of artists at the start of the AIDS pandemic Plays Well with Others is written with such confidence, and such poetic prose, it s hard to deny the level of Gurganus s genius There s real pathos here and real humor, like so much of life

    29. Jennifer on said:

      This book finally answers the burning question so many of us have lived with for so long what was it like to live as a gay man in NYC in the 80s I was incredibly invested in the characters in this book I actually went and researched the artist character because I was convinced it was at least based on a real person Hours of internet research convinced me it actually wasn t.

    30. Julene on said:

      An old favorite Allan Gurganus has his own language The scene with the father in the parking lot looking for his car with the TV remote control still keeps me laughing and I read this years ago It is a funny book with a serious thread, a group of friends, one of them with AIDS and how they interrelate.

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