Fire Island

A Century in the Life of an American Paradise

by Jack Parlett

On Sale: 06/14/2022

Fire Island

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Fire Island

A Century in the Life of an American Paradise

by Jack Parlett

On Sale: 06/14/2022


About the Book


A groundbreaking account of New York's Fire Island, chronicling its influence on art, literature, culture and queer liberation over the past century

Fire Island, a thin strip of beach off the Long Island coast, has long been a vital space in the queer history of America. Both utopian and exclusionary, healing and destructive, the island is a locus of contradictions, all of which coalesce against a stunning ocean backdrop.

Now, poet and scholar Jack Parlett tells the story of this iconic destination—its history, its meaning and its cultural significance—told through the lens of the artists and creators who sought refuge on its shores. Together, figures as divergent as Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, Carson McCullers, Frank O'Hara, Patricia Highsmith and Jeremy O. Harris tell the story of a queer space in constant evolution.

Transporting, impeccably researched and gorgeously written, Fire Island is the definitive book on an iconic American destination and an essential contribution to queer history.

Critical Praise

“A beautiful, beguiling journey to the ultimate queer utopia, a site of riotous hedonism, wild creativity and immense loss. Fire Island is a fascinating, throbbing history that asks the most urgent of contemporary questions: what does paradise look like, and who does it exclude?”— Olivia Laing

"Jack Parlett’s Fire Island is that rare book: a compelling social history of a time and place that, through carefully assembled detail and astute analysis brilliantly illuminates American culture as well as its topic. Its expansive cast of characters—Frank O’Hara, W.H. Auden, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Carson McCullers Tennessee Williams, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, Patricia Highsmith—demonstrate that Fire Island was a crucible of brilliance and creativity as well sexual and personal freedom. Interlacing insightful observations with flashes of personal memoir Parlett beautifully conjures Fire Island as myth, metaphor, and microcosm of queer culture that profoundly changed American culture."—Michael Bronski, author of A Queer History of the United States

"The zingy tale of one magnetic place — as well as a sprawling rumination on the intertwined urges to get away and get together. Clued-up but insatiably thirsty, poignant, packed with literary intrigue, Fire Island is a beaming beach read."—Jeremy Atherton Lin, author of Gay Bar

Vibrant… uniquely insightful and colorful cultural history…An illuminating, well-written history of a unique place.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Poetic and moving…beautifully written … Readers of all stripes will appreciate this fast-paced general interest title.”—Library Journal

"A fine account of an important place in gay cultural history."—Booklist

"Delightfully chronicled... the history of a queer landmark, its beginnings, its influence, and its seemingly constant evolution."—The Advocate

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781335475183
  • ISBN 10: 1335475184
  • Imprint: Hanover Square Press
  • On Sale: 06/14/2022
  • Pages: 272
  • List Price:35.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
  • BISAC2 : SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Sexuality

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