From the back cover copy:Max Desir loved his Italian-American family--even after his iron-willed father exiled him from its intimate innner circle.Max Desir loved his lover, Nick, with whom he openly took up life first amid the enchantment of Rome, then amid the realities of New York.Two loves so deeply felt--in a man so painfully divided......
|Title||:||The Family of Max Desir|
|Number of Pages||:||218 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Family of Max Desir Reviews
Odd but fairly engrossing. I expected this to be just like the other books by Ferro's fellow compatriots in the so-called Violet Quill group: another dreamy, exquisitely crafted, sex-soaked account of post-Stonewall NYC like you find everywhere in Edmund White, and which reach their apogee of perfection in Andrew Holleran's breathtaking Dancer from the Dance. But although this book does thrum along like a hazy, post-coital memory, it's not really about being gay, or living in New York -- it's about grief. In that way it reminded me of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America," which is obviously (at times stridently) about being gay and being a New Yorker, but which is at its heart really about how a family of friends deals with the fact that death has now taken up permanent residence at the very core of all their relationships. This book examines the same conundrum, but chooses as its test case an actual blood-related family, rather than a spiritually connected/self-selected family (managing to very sophisticatedly make no value judgement on which form of family has stronger, more painfully severed, ties). Also like Kushner (or I should say looking forward to Kushner, as Max Desir came first), this book has its share of surreal, mystical moments, with a host of alien visitations, voodoo ceremonies, talking ghosts, and the like, which are just jarring enough to make you step back and think, but not so strange that it doesn't seem part and parcel of a universe whose logic has been overturned by disease.ALSO also like Kushner, the central character of Max Desir feels -- like Kushner's main man Louis Ironson -- pretty flatly rendered, and comes off like a total pill. Max's aggrieved widower father John is a much more vivid character, more eager to confront his inner self and grapple with the spiritual ramifications of what death and love can do to a person. Perhaps this was deliberate. Both Ferro and his partner Michael Grumley (a fellow Violet Quiller) were dead within 5 years of this novel's publication in 1983, at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Maybe Ferro's novel is saying that the real fear of death is that there is no queer way to voice a fear of death, no way to grieve that feels authentic to his queer experience. Is there really a way now, nearly 30 years later? Can sadness and depression even be specifically gay? Ferro doesn't seem to have the answer, and Kushner, for all his talents and all the pyrotechnics of his "gay fantasia," doesn't really have much more to add, either.
Robert Ferro continues to be the gay author whose early passing I most greatly mourn. The world missed out on some daring and heartfelt literature when he died. As is fitting with his love of occult and supernatural themes, The Family of Max Desir feels like an eerie premonition of the increasing grief and growing death that was about to ravish a generation. An unrecognized classic by an unrecognized auteur.
Starting in the early 1900s, this novel outlines the Desiderio (Desir) family history from Scilly to the USA, until it quickly brings us to John Desir, and his son Max. A self made and now wealthy businessman, John is also homophobic. Max, aware from an early age of his attraction to men, finally comes out to his father after he has established a firm relationship with his lover Nick, whom he meets under interesting circumstances while staying in Italy. The relationship between Max and his father, and his divided loyalties, form the main thrust of this interesting story. While the story itself is potentially captivating, much is lost through the dispassionate tone of the third party telling of events. Not enough is given also to help really understand the characters, including Max’s siblings, and particularly lacking is the development of Max’s lover Nick, we do not feel the strength of their long lasting relationship, which surely is essential in order to fully appreciate the Max’s attitude toward his father. Contrast that lack with, among other things, the detail and time given to the burial of Max’s mother and it seems the balance here is not right. I would loved to have felt more involved with this story, to have better understood Max and Nick, including how Nick felt about Max’s ongoing affair with Clive; the real problem comes down to the fact that the whole story feels devoid of emotion.
I really enjoyed this... As the title suggests, it is the family story of Max Desir, his aging ailing mother, stubborn father, brothers and sisters, and a story of Max coming to terms with his homosexuality and family. Toward the end, I really couldn't see the significance of the last 30 pages, and seemed like it could have been trimmed down. The final scene Max resolves his straining relationship with his father for closure but I'd still like to know what happens next.From what I can tell, the author died of AIDS in the 80's, but I would really be interested in reading more from Ferro.
Disappointing. I read it through, hoping always that something would actually happen in this story, but alas, there is no plot. Just a rather mundane story about a gay man who's father has a hard time accepting his homosexuality. Ho hum...not exactly breaking news. The writing is pretty good, but was put to no particular good purpose. The characters were two dimensional; I never felt like I knew who they were or felt any real connection between them. And ultimately there's that plot thing...or the lack thereof.
One of the best novels of the 1980s gay male literary output from the big publishers, in this case Dutton. Because the novel is covering a specific period in time, younger readers may be bored; try to read it more like history. Each generation of gays takes the tribe a bit farther down the road, and each step must be celebrated. Forever. [I read a borrowed copy in 1996 but bought a signed hardcover first-edition for $93.75 in 2012 at Larry McMurtry's now defunct Booked Up in Archer City, Texas.]
No conocia a este autor y ha sido una sorpresa positiva, tiene un estilo poetico, pero te puedes identificar facilmente con el protagonista de la novela. El tema, lo complicado que es ser gay e italoamericano de segunda generacion. Suena muy frivolo, pero es asi, como combinar familia y ser gay a veces es complicado.
Must read classic! Enjoyed this novel very much.
Fresh and original when Ferro wrote this novel thirty years ago. Gorgeous language.