Martin Bauman by David Leavitt
or, A Sure Thing

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David Leavitt's deliciously sharp novel is a multilayered dissection of literary and sexual mores in the get-ahead eighties, when outrageous success lay seductively within reach of any young writer ambitious enough to grab it.
At the dawn of the Reagan era, Martin Bauman -- nineteen, clever, talented, and insecure -- is enrolled at a prestigious college with a hard-won place under the tutelage of the legendary and enigmatic Stanley Flint, a man who can make or break careers with the flick of a weary hand. Martin is poised on the brink of the writing life, and his twin desires, equally urgent, are to get into print and find his way out of the closet.
As he makes his way through the wilderness of New York -- falling in love, going to parties, and coming to terms with the emerging chaos of AIDS -- Martin matures from brilliant student, to apprentice in a Manhattan publishing house, to one of the golden few to be anointed by the highly regarded magazine in which it is every young writer's dream to be published. Yet despite his apparent success, his emotional and creative desires stubbornly refuse to be satisfied, and his every achievement is haunted by that austere and troubling image of literary perfection, his elusive mentor, Stanley Flint.
An irresistibly entertaining epic, erotic, honest, and funny, MARTIN BAUMAN lays bare the life of the artist, in all his venal, envious, poignant glory.

About David Leavitt

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David Leavitt is the author of several novels (most recently, The Body of Jonah Boyd) and story collections. He teaches creative writing at the University of Florida, Gainesville, where he lives.
Published October 11, 2001 by Mariner Books. 402 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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What might almost have been Leavitt’s first novel is instead the presumably autobiographical stuff of his ambitious fifth: an alternately lighthearted and turgid chronicle of a young writer’s pursuit of love and fame in the New York literary world of the early 1980s.

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Publishers Weekly

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Always ""ready to pounce on a sure thing,"" as a classmate describes him, ambitious, gay Martin Bauman, part calculating and part ingenuous, decides in college that he will be a successful novelist and sets out with considerable luck and adroitness to achieve his goal in the New York literary world.

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Star Tribune

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Much of the book involves Bauman's coming out in the age of AIDS, and his love-hate literary relationship with grouchy yet charismatic writing teacher Stanley Flint, who inevitably will be compared with the real-life grouchy yet charismatic writing teacher Gordon Lish.

Sep 02 2000 | Read Full Review of Martin Bauman: or, A Sure Thing

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