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The siblings deal with sorrow in different ways and this continues as life goes on. As children, Jules is the introvert, Liz is the risk taker, and Marty the workaholic. As they age, however, their personalities soften; they find commonalities and ways to grow closer due to circumstance and maturity. Author Benedict Wells conceives this evolution just magnificently.

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At the boarding school, Jules eventually becomes friends with another student, Alva, a complicated person herself. It is this relationship that carries the rest of the story, and it is poignant indeed. Wells has written these characters masterfully. And the story, well, it grabbed me from the outset. This is one of the most fluid reads I can remember in a long time.

I say that because I actually marveled midway about how natural it was to keep turning the pages.

1. Giovanni's Room, by James Baldwin

Does that sound weird? Enrolled in boarding school where he and his siblings, Marty and Liz, are forced to live apart, the once vivacious and fearless Jules retreats inward, preferring to live within his memories — until he meets Alva, a kindred soul caught in her own grief. Fifteen years pass and the siblings remain strangers to one another, bound by tragedy and struggling to recover the family they once were.

Jules, still adrift, is anchored only by his desires to be a writer and to reunite with Alva, who turned her back on their friendship on the precipice of it becoming more. But, just as it seems they can make amends for time wasted, invisible forces — whether fate or chance — intervene. A kaleidoscopic family saga told through the fractured lives of the three Moreau siblings, alongside a faltering, recovering love story, The End of Loneliness is a stunning meditation on the power of our memories, of what can be lost and what can never be let go.

With inimitable compassion and luminous, affecting prose, Benedict Wells contends with what it means to find a way through life, while never giving up hope you will find someone to go with you. In a lush tale of manners, position, and desire, the titular character meets and falls for his classmate Clive while at Oxford. The pair embark on a two-year affair until Clive leaves Maurice to marry a woman and live out his proscribed life as part of the landed gentry, leaving Maurice in shambles and seeking to cure his homosexuality.

The End of Loneliness : Benedict Wells :

Maurice falls in love with another man, Alec Scudder, and finally abandons his station so that they can be together. The author of Night Drop , Marshall Thornton called the novel "the original gay romance. Jeffrey Eugenides won the Pulitzer Prize for his coming-of-age story about intersex protagonist Cal Stephanides. While Middlesex has received some criticism from the intersex community — the author does not identify as intersex, nor did he consult with those who do — the novel is undoubtedly a landmark in queer visibility. In some literary circles, it is considered a candidate for the title of the Great American Novel.

Alan Hollinghurst famously questioned the future of the gay novel this year , which is striking since he's often viewed as helping make queer books accessible to a mainstream audience. His novel broke through in a major way — The Line of Beauty won that year's prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction.

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Hollinghurt was praised for his expert command of the English language and his flawless re-creation of upper-class British society and conservative political circles of the s. Hollinghurst set his pen on the sexual hypocrisies of homophobic politicians, many of whom had their own indiscretions behind closed doors. The book follows Nick Guest, a gay graduate student unofficially adopted by the family of a schoolmate. Nick gets a sneak peek at the aristocracy, while indulging in no shortage of sex and party favors; the fun comes to a crashing halt as AIDS enters the fray.

The End of Loneliness: A Novel

Amid all the human drama, there's an amusing and memorable cameo from the Iron Lady. I think this was the first 'lesbian' book I ever read! And devoured.

Semi-autobiographical, Rubyfruit Jungle follows Molly Bolt's amorous adventures from childhood to adulthood, including a stint in swinging New York City. While Molly has sexual adventures with men, her true love is women, and Brown never shies away from describing Molly's insatiable passion for the ladies the title perfectly captures Molly's zeal for female anatomy.

Now assigned in many queer literature courses, Rubyfruit Jungle is brazen and brave; its frank discussion of lesbian sexuality can seem shocking to modern readers who imagine life in the early s was less raunchy.

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Rubyfruit Jungle is a page-turning reminder that queer lust and queer sex are timeless. This autobiography by the iconic queer black poet Audre Lorde is an experience of intersectionality, in a genre of intersections. A fierce love letter to the strength women have given her throughout her upbringing, the book explores her challenges growing up blind in s Harlem, fighting for dignity in the heat of Jim Crow, and finding a voice in the New York City lesbian bar scene.

A quietly devastating exploration of love, loneliness, and the often-crushing weight of adult responsibilities, 's A Single Man might just be one of Isherwood's most beloved works. The short novel — under pages — tracks the experiences of an aging college professor in Los Angeles. Wracked with depression over the loss of his partner in a car accident, George matter-of-factly plots his suicide.

But, as Isherwood demonstrates, life gets in the way. After crashing into others who are suffering as much as he is, George has a change of heart. But a last-minute twist changes everything.

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While Tom Ford's film adaptation conveys the styles and anxieties of the early s, it doesn't exactly capture the beautiful tone of despondency created by the incomparable Isherwood.