June is Pride month, and we’re incredibly proud to be able to share a list of FSG books that touch on LGBTQ life. From young gay men experiencing the first bloom of desire, to a lesbian poet playing with language and the erotics of the body, to a bisexual heiress in the glitzy and homophobic ‘20s, this list is full of literature that celebrates LGBTQ people and communities.
Christopher Isherwood, probably best known lately as the writer of A Single Man, produced a body of work that touched on queerness and loneliness in the midcentury. The World in the Evening is a semiautobiographical novel in which an Englishman, fresh off his second marriage and World War II, reminisces about his prewar affair with a young man and settles into his new home in Pennsylvania.
Emily Bingham decided to write this biography of her great-aunt Henrietta after finding her steamy love letters with Bloomsbury sculptor Stephen Tomlin and Hollywood star John Houseman. As she kept digging, though, she discovered that her aunt had also had affairs with prominent women of the time. Bingham charts the glitz and glamor of her socialite, muse-to-the-stars aunt’s life, as well as the “queer cures,” the alcoholism, and the family shaming that came along with it.
On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath Sofia’s National Palace of Culture. There he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler, and pays him for sex. One of the standout books of 2016, Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs to You charts the relationship between this teacher and Mitko, creating a stunning novel about the consequences of desire.
Now a movie starring Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name is the story of unexpected romance on the Italian Riviera. This lush exploration of the erotics and emotions of first desire is an undeniably sexy read.
A coming-of-age novel that places its protagonist, a young black man, in direct conversation a certain on this list. Jed, recently sober, flees to Berlin in search of the prewar Isherwood fantasies of the glitz and decadence of the Weimar Republic. But history, both personal and political, can’t be avoided with time or distance.
The best way to describe Shaughnessy’s Interior With Sudden Joy is to say that it is Anne Carson’s Eros, the Bittersweet, but explicitly lesbian, and poems. The work dances between the erotics of the body and the erotics of language, with a result that is simply sexy.
Hilton Als’s first book, The Women, published in 1996, has many of the trademarks that would make his later career such a brilliant one: deep, incisive cultural criticism, musings on gender, race, and power, interweaving the personal and political.
Mz N is not quite a memoir, not quite a novel, not quite a lyric—it is a creation all its own, mirroring and reflecting McLane’s life. And of course, if you loved Mz N, keep an eye out for McLane’s latest, Some Say, out next month.
A collection spanning Bidart’s career in poetry, from his poems inhabiting the mind of tortured genius Vaclav Nijinski to those more reflective of his own life. Here Bidart finds himself a “creature coterminous with thirst,” still longing, still searching in himself, one of the “queers of the universe.”
Máni Steinn is queer in a society in which the idea of homosexuality is beyond the furthest extreme. He lives in Reykjavik in 1918, a city on the edge of the Arctic, on the edge of history. As influenza sweeps the city, Máni retreats into the movie theater, but eventually realizes he must face the question of whether or not to help the city that turned its back on him.