"As valuable as Holleran may be as a chronicler of contemporary gay history, he is one of those gay writers whose stylistic prowess and critical intelligence deserves the attention of straight readers as much as that of the gay reading community. . . . The Beauty of Men is an honest attempt to grapple with loneliness and aging without self-pity or sentimentality, and for that reason, it will last."  — Washington Post

Andrew Holleran’s classic Dancer from the Dance became an icon for gay men in the 1970s, portraying a man's descent from high society Connecticut to a glittering world of hedonism and promiscuity in New York City. In The Beauty of Men, his third novel, he writes a poignant story of loneliness, unfulfilled dreams, and loss of youth, set in the mid-1990s amid the ravaging AIDS crisis.

Forty-seven, gay, and alone, Lark leaves behind his youth and dreams in New York City to care for his dying mother in Florida. Mourning the passing of his glamorous younger self to time and the lives of friends and acquaintances to AIDS, he looks back on his past, to years spent in pursuit of hedonistic pleasures. Middle-aged, gray, and now seemingly invisible to the world around him, Lark has survived while those around him have all been taken. Left with nothing but his memories, he is forced to contemplate the cruel emptiness and bitter loneliness of his life while longing for a stunningly handsome man, who haunts is days and dreams.

Gorgeous and deeply moving, Holleran’s heartbreaking novel is beyond its time; a study of the human condition and our yearning for meaning, purpose, and love in a cold and capricious world.

About the author(s)

Andrew Holleran’s first novel, Dancer from the Dance, was published in 1978. He is also the author of the novels Nights in Aruba and The Beauty of Men; a book of essays, Ground Zero (reissued as Chronicle of a Plague, Revisited); a collection of short stories, In September, the Light Changes; and a novella, Grief.


“A gorgeous writer.” — Booklist

“A stream-of-consciousness meditation on loneliness, aging, and death.” — Library Journal (starred review)

The Beauty of Men . . . attempts something bold and contrary in the context of contemporary gay writing and thought: an account of life from the point of view of a gay man approaching 50, riddled not only with the guilt of a survivor whose friends have succumbed to AIDS but with a deeper sense of despair at his own homosexuality. ” — New York Times Book Review

“Like F. Scott Fitzgerald's Elegies of the Jazz Age, Holleran's novel eulogizes his generations experience in sensuous, elegant style." — Washington Post

"So beautifully written and so poignant, the reader has little to do but sit back and admire it." — USA Today

“Profoundly sad, elegant and insightful. . . . Holleran’s trademark prose—lush, carefully cadenced and keenly observed—creates a mesmerizingly claustrophobic world.” — Publishers Weekly

"There must be many Larks out there who, in the face of the epidemic, find it 'hard now to know what to do with the allure of men.' With grace, candor, and considerable nerve, Holleran gives them a voice." — San Francisco Chronicle

"There are only three or four living writers whose new novels make me run to the bookstore; Holleran heads this very short list." — Edmund White

"I cannot imagine that another book will take me on as harrowing a journey as this one did anytime soon. . . . Holleran is a virtuoso." — Boston Phoenix