Start by marking “The Lost Language of Cranes” as Want to Read: David Leavitt's extraordinary first novel, now reissued in paperback, is a seminal work about family, sexual identity, home, and loss. The Lost Language of Cranes by David Leavitt is a perfect example of why one should. “Leavitt catches beautifully the terror and passion of new love.” ―Dorothy Allison, The Village Voice. “Brilliant, wise It would be hard to overpraise this book;. The Lost Language of Cranes is a novel by David Leavitt, first published in A British TV Later, he goes to his parents' flat to look at Derek's books. Jerene.
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By: David Leavitt Media of The Lost Language of Cranes "A brilliant, wise first novel the delight of the book is Leavitt's style it flashes with pathos, anger, and . By: David Leavitt Media of The Lost Language of Cranes It would be hard to overpraise this book; it represents the most assured debut of a novelist in a long. David Leavitt's books include The Two Hotel Francforts, The Indian Clerk, The Lost Language of Cranes, and The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and.
The story of Jerene, the lesbian friend of Philip's boyfriend Elliot is heart breaking. The story of Owen, Philip's closet homosexual father, is handled a little more heavy handedly, and I feel may have been more affected if the two of them weren't so closely related. The effect on their mother Rose, is genuine. The real difference between this novel and some of the other gay fiction that appears on it, is that Rose is a wonderfully written character, flawed but no victim, and at the one, you're left feeling devastated for her.
Well written, moving, but nothing spectacular.
And not a Hollinghurst type character in sight, even if Elliot does scrape worringly close occasionally. May 24, Alena rated it liked it. Maybe only 3. It's a unique family drama as mother, father and son struggle with their disconnect, stemming largely from sexual preferences. Owen and Phillip are both gay men, but at completely different places in terms of acceptance.
It's an era I know, and one that affecte Maybe only 3. It's an era I know, and one that affected me deeply, so I'm surprised that this well-written novel didn't quite capture my heart. While I could appreciate how evocative it is, and the complexity of its characters, Leavitt just never allowed me to fall into his book. And the amount of sex in this novel threw me off. It wasn't at all smutty, but it was startling.
Disappointing because I had such high hopes. Una buona e interessante lettura, anche se in fin dei conti mi ha lasciato abbastanza indifferente emotivamente. Quanta sofferenza in questo romanzo Siamo negli anni ' Indicativo del sentire del periodo la parola con cui il traduttore del romanzo, sicuramente d'epoca, abbia deciso di rendere 'eterosessuale ' col termine 'regolare'.
Il romanzo dipinge un contest Quanta sofferenza in questo romanzo Nella sua strenua difesa dello status quo. Io ho dei segreti, un sacco di segreti, significa forse che dovrebbero essere rivelati tutti? Era vero che il loro non era stato un gran matrimonio. Non era neanche stato un matrimonio particolarmente buono. Ma era stata la sua vita. Si aveva una famiglia. Come se l'orientamento sessuale potesse essere ritenuto 'soddisfazione personale'.
Usa toni esasperati e angoscianti nei momenti maggiormente drammatici, coinvolgendo il lettore come fosse testimone impotente. Ecco io ho questo limite: Mi pare sempre, come da ragazzina, una mancanza di presa di posizione da parte dell'autore Un non voler concludere Se Goodreads me lo permettesse, metterei quattro stellette e mezza.
Leavitt Se Goodreads me lo permettesse, metterei quattro stellette e mezza. Diventa difficile non empatizzare con loro, non comprenderli anche nei loro difetti, come il cieco egoismo.
Anche New York emerge in alcuni suoi lati particolari, come un naturale prolungamento dei personaggi, che spesso vagano per le sue strade meditabondi, solitari. Dec 27, Rob Walter rated it it was ok. I always find it hard to review a two-star book, because the inevitable question is 'well why did you read it? However, his writing lacks the grace and style of Hollinghurst, and his characters lack the depth and complexity.
Essentially this is a book about miserable people written in lifeless prose. As a contrast, I'm reading Howard Jacobson at the moment, who writes about miserable people with I always find it hard to review a two-star book, because the inevitable question is 'well why did you read it? As a contrast, I'm reading Howard Jacobson at the moment, who writes about miserable people with sparkling, witty prose and it makes all the difference.
I did wonder as I read it if this book has just aged badly, and that at the time of writing it could get away with its dead prose and maudlin world view because it had political currency. However, there are many positive reviews on here, so I guess it just didn't provide that specific thing that separates my taste from that of many others.
Dec 31, Ilya rated it it was ok. This book is part of the gay fiction canon but it feels more like an artifact than a story that will be lovingly read and re-read for years. Public opinion on homosexuality has shifted dramatically since the late s, so that's part of it. Without the whiff of judgment and scandal that must have made this book interesting to people back then, it's a pretty pedestrian read.
The characters are thinly sketched, and some scenes feel as predictable as an after-school special. Too much exposition, p This book is part of the gay fiction canon but it feels more like an artifact than a story that will be lovingly read and re-read for years.
Too much exposition, poor dialogue, etc. It's such an interesting contrast to The Swimming Pool Library, which was written around the same time, and which I read last month for the first time. It hardly feels dated at all. Nov 03, Jennifer rated it really liked it. I read this all in a night, sucked in by the really beautiful prose and dead-on description of New York a little before I lived there but very recognizable. It's about a family whose son and father both come out as gay at about the same time, and all the men in the book are very artfully drawn.
Little disappointed about the mother, Rose, who is a shrill caricature, but other than that, extremely well done. Jan 10, Len rated it really liked it. Finally getting around to reading some of the books that were hot when I was coming out Something comforting about reading this all these years later, that the endless 'drama' has subsided. What an incredible book to launch my reading!
First published in , The Lost Language of Cranes by David Leavitt is an intense, powerful, well-written study of an intellectual middle-age couple and their grown son. Set in Manhattan in the 's, each of the three main characters has kept secrets from one another for a long time, and the story traces the need to finally reveal those secrets and the consequences each faces for doing that.
Rose and Owen Benjamin have been married for twenty What an incredible book to launch my reading! Rose and Owen Benjamin have been married for twenty-seven years and live quiet, mundane lives on Manhattan's East Side.
Rose is a copy editor for a small NYC publishing house. She is a very structured person and her work is the centerpiece of her life since her home life is so passionless. Her secret is that of a five-year affair she had in the distant past with a co-worker. Owen had a promising academic career long ago but gave it up and settled for a drab position as the director of a private Manhattan boy's school, a position that leaves him unfulfilled. The boredom of his professional and home life is relieved only by his visit every Sunday afternoon to a gay porno theater which he has frequented for many years.
The couple's lives are further complicated by the fact that they soon may be forced to leave their apartment of many years due to a proposed condo-conversion. Their only child and twenty-five year old son Philip has his own apartment on the West Side and works midtown as an editor of romance novels. He has fallen in love with Elliott Abrams whom he has known for about a month.
Philip is painfully insecure and since Elliot is his first love in a long time he is overly eager to cling to him which alienates Elliot. Phillip is also captivated by the fact that Elliot was raised by two gay men in a literary and bohemian world, an environment totally alien from his own experience. While he is out as a gay man to his friends and co-workers, Philip has never revealed his sexuality to either of his parents even though he has known since a young teenager that he was gay.
Now he feels a need to tell them since he has finally fallen in love. His decision to come out to his parents has unforeseen consequences, most acutely his father's need to finally acknowledge that he too is gay. This is a book to be enjoyed on many levels. Leavitt's rich and rewarding story draws the reader into the hearts and minds of its characters. It is an excellent portrayal of different relationships: The story is also an engrossing account of keeping secrets and the terrible toll that can have on a person physically and emotionally.
The author raises valid questions. Is it always best to tell the truth or should some things be left unspoken? Is the burden lifted from the bearer of the secret simply transferred to the person learning the secret? Leavitt does not answer these questions but raises them in the reader's mind for consideration.
He also shows what a horrible price one pays for living in the closet. Reading and understanding Owen's many years of secrecy, shame and guilt is painful and his desire to touch and be touched by someone for whom he feels passion is very poignant.
Additionally throughout the story there is an overriding theme of loneliness and what one can or should do to try to overcome it that goes beyond just the three main characters. The specter of AIDS looms through the story. Written at the time of the introduction of the cataclysmic AIDS era there is the fear and dread of contracting the disease running through the minds of many of the characters, a sense they are being forced into monogamy to simply survive.
Then ten was reduced to five, five to two Instead though it is a reference to research being conducted by Elliot's roommate Jerene, clearly the strongest and most powerfully drawn of the secondary characters. A black lesbian who was coldly rejected by her adoptive parents once they learned of her sexuality, she is busy doing research on lost languages. She stumbles upon the bizarre story of a neglected two-year old boy who related to and imitated the movement and sound of the mechanical cranes he saw from his tenement window rather than that of his biological single mom.
The boy becomes the Crane-Child and when he is removed from them what he shared is forever lost. This is a perfectly slow-paced novel, just the right tempo to paint incredible characters and draw the reader into their lives.
Never did I feel it was moving too slowly; it held my interest throughout. I was totally captivated by this book and plan to read more by this talented author.
One final comment. The one significant change was the setting, London rather than New York.
I caught a glimpse of it on YouTube and from what I saw other than the setting it appeared very faithful to the book. This book is kind of an amazing feat in that there is basically no plot outside the drama of what is going on inside everyone's heads. There's no work thing or art thing or anything at all except Feelings, lots of them, everywhere, all the time.
For all that, it didn't feel that intense while I was reading it and I think that's because the author's style is very easy to read. He writes very clearly and empathetically about the problems people have communicating with each other, and how it's poss This book is kind of an amazing feat in that there is basically no plot outside the drama of what is going on inside everyone's heads. He writes very clearly and empathetically about the problems people have communicating with each other, and how it's possible for the same person to fall in love in different ways.
Jun 14, Kelly This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a beautiful book with characters who will stay with me for a long time. Owen and Philip are interesting and well-developed. Leavitt uses the fact that both men are gay as a way to show various struggles of coming out and self-acceptance. It is a lovely exploration of the reactions from those we love.
I was at times sad for Owen, worried for Philip and angry at those they loved. A thoughtful moving novel about homosexuality, relationships, secrets and desires. Jul 08, Infamous Sphere rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Recommended to Infamous by: The literal only problem was this book was the frequent use of the word "lover".
It had not even been a particularly good marriage. But it had been her life.
And if your marriage isn't lousy but just sad and lonely, then the decision is even harder to make. Owen and Rose are a middle-aged couple living in an appartment in New York, an appartment they are about to loose. They have a son, Philip. Philip is gay and has been hiding i "It was true that it had not been a great marriage. Philip is gay and has been hiding it from his parent for a long time. But then suddenly he finds himself in love with Eliot and decides to share it with his parents since he now has something happy to show them.
Unfortunately, Eliot breaks up with him before Philip can introduce him to his parents and this throws Philip into a period of heavy grieving and sadness, only matched by the sadness experienced by his parents, struggling with their own problems, both with their appartment but especially with Rose's slowly realisation that Owen is gay as well, a fact that Owen has lived with all his life and concealed for Rose.
This is a beautifully written book about relationships between family but also between friends and how it's sometimes often easier to share your innermost feelings and longings with strangers, rather than with the people who are supposed to be the closest to you.
It's also a book about coming out and how different the coming out experience can be. Eliot - who only had to come out if it was to come out straight. Jelene - who came out and was disowned by her family. Philip who comes out to his parents and throw their entire existence into chaos. Philip's coming out scene is just so heartbreaking that it's almost unbearable.
Leavitt has a profound ability to write real characters facing real life problems, living in sad and nostalgic circumstances and having to make choices.
Most of all, this is a book about loneliness and how to come to terms with it, learn to live with whatever life has brought you - but also that happiness can be achieved and sometimes found in the most unlikely places. This was also my first experience reading gay fiction. Well, maybe it's wrong to call it gay fiction. Yes, there are men having sex and details of this are explicit.
But this isn't something out of the ordinary in the lives of these people well, except in Rose's and the life experiences are of course mostly the same, whether you're gay or not except for the coming out of course, and some straight people have to come out as well.
If you are a duck, then you model your behaviour on the first thing you see. They lead a tightly structured life, devoting their days to work and their evenings to reading.
While Rose and Owen both know that their intimacy has faded, neither is willing to question the basic value of their relationship. Every Sunday, they go their separate ways; Rose reads the paper and works in their apartment, while Owen spends the day at a gay pornographic cinema. Rose has no idea how Owen spends these Sundays and would never dream of asking.
Once their sanctuary from the outside world is threatened, the rest of their carefully structured life begins to crumble as well. Their son, Philip, infatuated with a new lover, wants to share his happiness with his parents and finally summons the courage to reveal that he is gay.
His disclosure has an immediate impact on their comfortable, settled lives. Rose feels shocked grief, driven by her fear of the sexual danger that her son has to negotiate as a homosexual.
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