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The Hours & A Little Life : The 25 Best LGBT Novels of All Time


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22. The Hours, by Michael Cunningham
Cunningham’s 1998 novel, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, tells three parallel stories involving queer characters in different times and places.

In England in the 1920s, Virginia Woolf struggles with depression and writing Mrs. Dalloway, a novel to which Cunningham pays homage; in mid-20th-century Los Angeles, housewife Laura Brown, discontented with her life, confronts her attraction to women; and in 1990s New York City, Clarissa Vaughan, who is lesbian, plans a party for her best friend, writer Richard Brown, a gay man dying of AIDS.

Cunningham weaves their stories together seamlessly and movingly in a novel that is deservedly recognized as a modern classic.

The 2002 film adaptation, written by David Hare and directed by Stephen Daldry, received several Oscar nominations, and Nicole Kidman won Best Actress for her portrayal of Woolf. It costarred Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Ed Harris.

23. A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
In 2015, when the novel was published, reviewer and author Garth Greenwell declared in The Atlantic, “A Little Life: The Great Gay Novel Might Be Here.”  Hanya Yanagihara’s story of four friends — Jude, Malcolm, JB, and Willem — lasts over 700 pages as you witness the evolution of friendship and love between these men who met in college. We follow them for three decades, withstanding alongside them the waves of trauma that life so often sends. The friends survive together, as described in intensely vulnerable detail. Yanagihara talked with The Guardian about friendship and hardship. “We might all have had that feeling: as a friend, what is my responsibility to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved? Or tell someone to keep living when they don’t want to live?” Gay men are often blindsided by A Little Life’s penetrating clarity about what binds them or drives them apart.

advocate.com

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