Nights in Aruba

Nights in Aruba

by Andrew Holleran

With wry humor and subtle lyricism, Holleran reveals the tragedy and comedy of one man's struggle to come to terms with middle age, homosexuality, truth, love, and life itself.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.60
  • Pages: 240
  • Publish Date: December 18th 2001 by Harper Perennial
  • Isbn10: 0060937343
  • Isbn13: 9780060937348

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He also reflects on the way he has compartmentalised his life because he hides his sexuality from his parents. He comes to terms with the changes in his life by looking at the changes in his parents, remembering his life as a child in Aruba and reflecting on the differences between his life in New York, and his visits to Jasper, a small town in Florida where his parents have retired to. From his childhood in Aruba, through school, college and service in the army, he recalls how his relationship with his parents has shaped who he now is in middle age and in reflecting this way he comes to terms with middle age. In this story Paul recalls his lonely childhood in Aruba with a father who he felt distanced from and a mother who was demanding in her own way but also lonely and bored. One as a dutiful and responsible son who visits his parents in Florida and one as a single gay man who throws himself into the noisy, bustling and sexual free life of New York.

If gay male novels of the 1980s are not your thing (in which case you are missing out, but that's none of my business), perhaps you won't feel compelled to read the book, so I'm going to quote the final sentence here.

At just 240 pages, this book felt immensely longer - and far too dull.

I once called Holleran's Dancer from the Dance my "book soul-mate," and I still feel that way. I've since read three other books of his (including this) and his story collection, In September, the Light Changes. I'm still a fan of Holleran's short stories, as well as Dancer..., and I intend to read some of his Christopher Street AIDS essays, but the frustrations have gotten the better of me when it comes to his post-Dancer novels.

I wonder if he named Paul as a tribute to Paul from Sons and Lovers, because in many ways, I thought the character's relationship with his mother was very inspired by Lawrence's novel. Holleran does a great job at rendering the ''milieu'' in New York during the seventies and very early eighties, but this book doesn't focus solely on the dating and mating scene, but more on relationships and friendships.

Later chapters turn more toward the anecdotal style of Holleran's Dancer from the Dance to tell a story about One Gay Man and his severely arrested development in the 1970s and early '80s. Is this book as good as Dancer from the Dance, **the best American gay novel ever written**?

I would imagine the book is called "Nights in Aruba" in an attempt to liven up the dull subject matter. It starts out with the author's childhood, surely "days in Aruba" if anything, then moves to his late teens in the army and finally to NYC and visiting his parents in Florida. But the middle, classic and brilliant Holleran, is still worth reading the book for.

I remember reading his other book Grief a while back and was so depressed reading it I probably gave up.

I liked how this novel portrayed the importance of "family" in two different settings, one's home vs.