The Marble Quilt by David Leavitt

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In these nine masterly stories, David Leavitt surveys the complicated politics of human relationships in families and communities, in the present day and over the course of the last century. A "wizard at blending levity and pathos" (Chicago Tribune), Leavitt displays here his characteristic grace and intelligence, as well as his remarkable candor and wit.
Here are stories that range in form from a historical survey to a police interrogation to an e-mail exchange. In "The Infection Scene," a young man's determined effort to contract HIV is juxtaposed with an account of the early life of Lord Alfred Douglas. In the title story, an expatriate tries to make sense of his ex-partner's senseless murder. In "Crossing St. Gotthard," the members of an American family traveling in Europe at the turn of the twentieth century find themselves confronting their own mortality as they plunge into a train tunnel in Switzerland. And in "Black Box," the partner of a man killed in a plane crash is drawn into an unholy alliance with a fellow "crash widow." Moving from Rome to San Francisco to Florida, from fin-de-siccle London to Hollywood in the early 1960s, these stories showcase the agility and sensitivity that have earned David Leavitt his reputation as one of the most innovative voices in contemporary short fiction.

About David Leavitt

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David Leavitt's first collection of stories, Family Dancing, was published when he was just twenty-three and was a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner Prize. The Lost Language of Cranes was made into a BBC film, and While England Sleeps was short-listed for the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize. With Mark Mitchell, he coedited The Penguin Book of Short Stories, Pages Passed from Hand to Hand, and cowrote Italian Pleasures. Leavitt is a recipient of fellowships from both the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He divides his time between Italy and Florida.
Published January 1, 2001 by Houghton Mifflin. 224 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Gay fiction’s elegant stylist (Martin Bauman, 2000, etc.) returns with an uneven, mutable collection of nine stories inspired by his deep biographical readings of Oscar Wilde's circle—and by profound sympathy for an aggrieved present-day gay community.

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Publishers Weekly

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Although Tom's murder isn't solved in the story, the enigmas in his life—from his friendship with patronizing "liberal" straight couples in San Francisco to his late-blooming obsession with marble in Rome—become clearer.

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