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Literature & Fiction

Nights in Aruba (Plume) - Andrew Holleran

Nights in Aruba (Plume)

Author: Andrew Holleran
Book title: Nights in Aruba (Plume)
ISBN: 0452261953
ISBN13: 978-0452261952
Publisher: Plume (August 1, 1984)
Language: English
Category: Contemporary
Rating: 4.3/5
Votes: 870
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Reviews: (6)
A disappointing follow up to "Dancer From the Dance" a seminal gay novel. Fortunately, a great comeback with "The Beauty of Men. Holleran's prose at its best is gorgeous. Why has nobody made a movie of "Dancer."
Nights in Aruba has been criticized as lacking structure. Even Holleran has said this. I don't agree. The "Novel" is perfect as it is. With this work, Holleran should have been elevated to his proper place among the most skillful and observant writers of English prose of the last, and now this, century. Sadly, because his audience has been largely limited to gay men, that is unlikely to happen. He deserves a wider audience. This is a thinly veiled memoir in the guise of fiction. Holleran writes as well as anyone can. In penetrating his own psyche he reaches the reader's as well. The earnestness in certain passages in Aruba made me want to read them again and again. The writing is gorgeous.
This is not a book to read for plot, but for the "voice" of the narrator and in that sense it is truly excellent. This does not mean it is boring - at least I didn't think so - and found myself longing to continue reading it.

The book full of truths. Reading it makes one FEEL what it is like to be human, (though from a gay point of view) - and what it means to feel ambivalent, and how the weight of life's uncertainty feels like.

"Dancer from the dance" is Holleran's more successful novel, but I personally preferred "Nights in Aruba".

One of the earlier reviewers trashes the book on the basis that the character does not learn from his experiences - but to this I wish to say that the novel is not a "bildungsroman". I do not think that the book has a bleak outlook to life - rather is depicts one viewpoint (and does so very well) - and shows how and why humans are prone to making the same mistakes and that there is so much existential uncertainty to life.

The book's literary qualities are also such that the book improves with a second reading.

Kudos to Holleran.
This is a story about Paul, who's looking back on his early years living in Aruba. He's getting older and discovering not only the emptiness of one-night stands, but also that he's not as unlike his parents as he would like. Holleran's sense of wry humor and his astute observations about growing older as a gay man are strong in this work and make it shine. This is a novel about the inner world, so apparently the lack of outside action aggravated some reviewers. I think Andrew Holleran is one of the best writers of gay fiction, so.
Nights in Aruba is a book that left me wondering why I took the time to read it. It tells the story of a gay man from his youth in Aruba through his time in the military to New York. The book did not really keep my interest and I felt as if the book was nothing more than pages filled with the laments of a middle-aged gay male who has had a life that amounted to very little.
Holleran's NIGHTS IN ARUBA is one of the first novels I read by those writers who are now described as having belonged to the Violet Quill--it was and remains one of the best. Here is a novel that reads in many ways like a memoir; at the same time, it has the dramatic movement of fiction. In this book, I particularly loved Holleran's dialogue, which is at once arch and sad and comic. A wonderful book.
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