Read In the City of Shy Hunters by Tom Spanbauer Online


Tom Spanbauer is one of the most enchanting writers in America today, and In the City of Shy Hunters, his first novel in ten years, is a "rich and colorful" portrait of New York in the 1980s, told with "raw power" (David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle). Shy, afflicted with a stutter, and struggling with his sexuality, Will Parker comes to New York to escape the provinciaTom Spanbauer is one of the most enchanting writers in America today, and In the City of Shy Hunters, his first novel in ten years, is a "rich and colorful" portrait of New York in the 1980s, told with "raw power" (David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle). Shy, afflicted with a stutter, and struggling with his sexuality, Will Parker comes to New York to escape the provincial western towns where he grew up. In New York, he finds himself surrounded for the first time by people who understand and celebrate his quirks and flaws. He also begins an unforgettable love affair with a volatile, six-foot-five African-American drag queen and performance artist named Rose. But even as he is falling in love with Rose and growing into himself, Will must watch as AIDS escalates from a rumor into a devastating tragedy. When a vicious riot erupts in a local park, Will seizes the chance to repay the city for all it has taught him, in a climax that will leave readers shaken, fulfilled, and changed. "In the City of Shy Hunters is so finely crafted ... you'll think you've been reading a modernist classic." -- Peter Kurth, "Spanbauer's genius resides even in the asides ... teas[ing] out the genuine complexity of human love." -- Thomas McGonigle, The Washington Post Book World "Ambitious and compelling ... a mixture of the ghastly, the hilarious, and the curiously touching." -- John Hartl, The Seattle Times "In the City of Shy Hunters has the earmarks of a literary landmark ... Its importance and originality are unmistakable." -- Laura Demanski, The Baltimore Sun...

Title : In the City of Shy Hunters
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780802138989
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 512 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

In the City of Shy Hunters Reviews

  • Ruby
    2019-04-13 03:15

    After reading this book, I wanted to go back and change my ratings of all the other books I gave five stars to. This is the book I've been waiting for.To call In the City lyrical is certainly true, but also disappointing, ordinary. I would invent new words for this book, choreograph a 1000-person line dance in Thompkins Square Park, a humble tribute. I want to buy a copy for every rehab and homeless shelter and gay community center in the country. I want to live in this book. I have lived in this book. I am still living in this book.I'm in love with the characters: William of Heaven, Fiona Yet, Rose and Ruby, Charlie and True Shot. They are my Art Family, hanging out in the basement of my memory, lovely new additions to the swarm under the jumbotron that says "Gotham." How could new people -- fictional characters, even -- insinuate themselves into something so impermeable as my own history? It's magic, but they have done just that.Speaking of magic: I knew there was a divine tether between the Known Universe and this book, that it is somehow a hologram of the human experience twisted into a raunchy fable. That is magic enough, but here's some more magic: In the City of Shy Hunters was published in the early months of 2001. Here's a quote from p. 437:"As I lit the cigarette, the World Trade Center was in the rearview mirror, and I turned around to look. The World Trade Center buildings were so beyond human they'd disappeared."This book is a beautiful example of contemporary urban wisdom, heart, and tragedy, as it truly is -- inseperable from, a celebration of the whole, of Life Cafe: the ouroboros, the peace pipe, and the dog shit.

  • Matthew
    2019-04-13 05:27

    I should probably give this book four stars, but I can't.I started volunteering with people living with HIV/AIDS when I got to college. It seemed like the right thing to do. It was a show a gratitude to those who'd come before to make my gay life easier. It was a promise that my generation would learn our lessons; keep ourselves healthy.In the five years I volunteered, I watched young men grow horribly old and die. I discovered how strong the will to live can be. I learned to smile in the face of death; to pretend it wasn't waiting on the couch to take someone else away. And I learned how to say goodbye to beautiful people who didn't get a chance to fulfill their potential. The specter was always close.After college, I volunteered elsewhere, and learned different things. That the drugs were getting better. People were dying at a more reasonable rate. That life didn't have to end, and that healthy was an option. And I got to stop saying so many goodbyes. And there was talk of a vaccine; a hope that maybe this would end.And then it didn't. People are still healthy, the drugs work, and sometimes they don't. People get sick, and sometimes they get better. Sometimes they die and I have to remember to say goodbye.But it's worse now. Now, those young men (and women) are my friends. I knew them before, and now I have to know them after. Watch the struggle. Count the pills. Know about the medical appointments; the tests. Know the counts and the stats and the treatments and the services and the struggle.And I still can smile. And offer support and advice. I still know which support groups meet when, and I make referrals to service providers. And I make a mean chicken soup.But I'm tired, and I don't want to do it anymore. I want it to be over, and it's not. It keeps going on. And every time I read "AIDS" in this book, a tiny part of me wanted to hide and never come back. And that's why I had to give it three stars.But it really deserved four.

  • Lydia
    2019-04-02 06:41

    (Sorry, Bert. I hope you can forgive me and that we can move on from this average rating.)We'll disregard the first 150 pages of this book because I wasn't into the beginning of this book. I don't know what it was I was just kind of bored.Tom Spanbauer still has the ability to write some really fucking incredible lines that punch you in the gut. And scenes of this book were freaking incredible and intimate and raw. It was brutal, especially towards the end of the book when he really, really started focusing in on the AIDs crisis.But I wasn't that attached to the characters in this? Which is really weird because normally Spanbauer can get me really emotionally involved with his characters, but I felt kind of detached from them in this one. Which is maybe why I didn't enjoy it as much as his others? Who knows tbh.

  • Jaina Bee
    2019-04-04 23:21

    Like his "Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon" novel, it took me a long time to get into this, but once I did, it threw me around like a good mosh pit. Spanbauer is a patient writer, as at ease with brutality and blasphemy as he is with the most tender and discreet emotions.But like many a good mosh pit, it seemed more like a tribute to that urge than the urge itself. Even the most harrowing or passionate scenes were so classically constructed that the emotional impact fell short of what the scene called for. Perhaps I am a poor reader, because I know that this is great writing.Where the emotions and images resonated the strongest and purest were in the delicate, internal moments of our moustachioed protagonist. Sexy Einstein.Speaking of which, Spanbauer is the master of unusual and tenacious catch phrases. Every time he wrote "Another New Yorker gone to Hell," I heard a car alarm, right on cue. The writing is vivid, sensual, and almost musical. Plus, this would make an excellent film.

  • J.
    2019-04-10 04:21

    This is an amazing novel. It feels epic, larger than it's own story. And that's not easy for a book written in minimalist prose.I think the only thing I didn't like about the book was the character Fiona. But the reason I didn't like her was because she was written so realistically as THAT kind of person--so even the thing I didn't like about the book is a point of praise.A warning, though: This book is not meant to be escapist, nor as a quick read to help you get through a flight or a bus ride. This is serious prose about very serious things, and it demands attention. That's what makes it so good--that it moves with deliberate steps instead of trying to sprint. I'd say HIGHLY recommended, but this one isn't for everyone. However, if you take reading seriously, or if you are an author who wants a masterclass in writing, get this novel immediately.Only someone THIS good could have been a teacher to Chuck Palahniuk.

  • Ezra
    2019-03-21 03:28

    I was completely entranced by this book and sobbed my way through the end, especially in love with Rose. This book is magical realism about queers dealing with AIDS and performance art in the 1980s in NYC - the Tompkins Sq Park riot is a central moment, and the book is dedicated to Ethyl Eichelberger, among others. On first reading, I felt nervous about the many characters that are mystical people of color... I think TS is a white guy (?) so it raised flags for me, but in the end I think TS's writing is insightful and illuminating about racism (among many other things). I just read this book a second time and was completely swept away all over again. the writing craft was even more moving this time, seeing the well-woven subtle introductions of information that becomes important later in the story. SO GOOD!

  • Jack
    2019-03-27 06:20

    I've already gushed about Tom Spanbauer in my "review" of Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon". This book is similarly well written, but much different; reading it was literally gut-wrenching. Being as I'm an ancient homo, and half of my life has been lived in the shadow of HIV/AIDS, I've seen the deaths of many, and a couple of times come close to it myself. Almost all the gay men I knew in San Francisco and New York died, and many more in Seattle. So many died that I have forgotten the names. And yet, ironically, I still live. I'm pretty sure that Tom might understand how that feels. He's one of the few left who could.

  • Kat Masek
    2019-03-20 23:32

    At the back of my mind, I knew he was, but with my reading of this novel, Tom Spanbauer, moved consciously to my top--what?--five favorite novelists ever. He takes chances, he digs so deeply into what we all wonder about, wish for, seek. He proves that the subject of a tale is its mere overlay, that what is most important is what lies underneath. And Spanbauer is fearless. His book says it all about confronting fear and finding courage. Spanbauer knows what life is for, no matter what the terrors of one's own life may be.

  • Malonie
    2019-04-11 06:40

    Love is available even in the darkest, most remote hiding places. Spanbauer's prose is so outstanding that I feel he has created a new way of writing. The flaws of these characters feel so real that these characters become people you wish you could talk with. They are funny and sad and trying to figure out how to survive in a fucked up world. And the fact that they succeed makes you feel you can too.

  • Ted Lewis
    2019-04-15 06:18

    One of the most heart-wrenching, gorgeous, devastating books I've ever read. "Why else do we live except to love and remember those we love?""Whether you fight it, cop an attitude, fuck it, or fall in love with it, you're still going to die. We're all just in our bodies for a moment in our life. Such a brave and lovely act it is to let the body celebrate..."

  • Jonathan
    2019-04-09 23:32

    William of Heaven arrives in New York in 1983, searching for Charlie 2Moons, his childhood friend and the love of his life. From the start there is an ethereal, almost magical feel to this beautifully written novel - no-one is ordinary, the characters' names conjure up a cross between a fairy tale and a fantasy: Fiona Yet, Ruby Prestigiacomo, True Shot, and the improbably named Argwings Khodek. Some have other names, few of them meet each other, but all of them shape the life of the somewhat innocent new arrival. William's innocence is short-lived however, especially in a time and place where AIDS is taking a grip on the lives of many of the characters. As the story progresses we travel back in time to witness episodes in Will's childhood in Idaho, when, with his sister Bobbie, he meets Charlie for the first time, and together they decide to learn stunt riding tricks on their horses. Their idyllic childhood begins to unravel though, and leads to a tragic turn of events. Tragedy occurs in the lives of most of the characters in the book, but whether he writes of this or lighter things, Tom Spanbauer does so with his customary poetic brilliance. If you are after a straightforward narrative, depicting the politics and high emotions of the times, then don't look here. Both are central to the story, but the style is one of high drama and uniquely expressive phrases. Repeated throughout the book, phrases such as 'Never touch me', 'It's all drag', 'No, no Yoko Ono', 'WALK/DON'T WALK' add a hypnotic quality to the writing, almost pulling you into the page each time you see the same words. This is a modern classic for those who love the unusual, recalling a time that should never be forgotten.

  • Ryan
    2019-04-15 02:21

    I came to this book fully prepared to hate it or at the very least find it "just okay." Spanbaur tends to give it all away (albeit cryptically) at the very beginning of his books, (which is a choice I generally like with him) and this book was no exception. However, as I read the introductory pages i couldn't help but feel like I was in for another rehash of the same old ideas I'd already explored with him. And while In the City of Shy Hunters is similar to The Man Who Fell In Love With The Moon and Now Is the Hour in style, in content, it is quite different. And besides, even if Spanbaur's books are kind of all the same, he's a great author! So, even though Shy Hunters feels a bit like a rehash (something that quietly gnawed at me while reading Now Is the Hour) there's enough fresh material here to make the book excellent in its own right. Basically, if you like Tom Spanbauer, you'll probably like this book. If you're looking to get into him, don't start here. This is definitely his most difficult work and his most shocking. But in the end, it's also one of his most rewarding.

  • Steve Woods
    2019-04-15 01:24

    If this story does not rip your heart out, you are either not human or a Pharasee. It is the story of a sensitive young man who leaves Idaho, fleeing from violence and abuse and all that so often accompanies poverty and despair, and heads for New York in search of the one person who truly loved him, a boy he grew up with. It explores the lives of "the shy hunters", those people who became his friends, his companions, his lovers and his teachers, during the first terrible scourge of the AIDS epidemic in New York.This book had a profound impact on me, there was much about the "underbelly" that is the big city for fringe dwellers that was so familiar to me. My own journey into that particular hades turned up not so many with as much nobility as Will or Rose or True Shot, but there were some I did glimpse, some who I touched and who touched me. At that time I was too young to see what was before me in them, but I do see it now.It is a story of deep anguish, loss and suffering but also a story of great abiding love bewteen those who have only each other and their own pain. Much touched me, there were so many memories, of savage, moments quiet moments and tenderness. On the whole it really did my head in for a while, I need some time to absorb it all; including some of the most profound lines I have had the privelege to read in the English language. "Fate leads those who will and drags those who won't".This is not a story of the Readers Digest variety. To experience it fully I think somehow, like me, you will probably have to have been there!

  • Brandi Declue
    2019-04-14 05:36

    Honestly, I am over half way done and it has been a struggle to get this far. The writing style is frustrating and the grammar Nazi in me wants to scream at him "a complete sentence needs a verb!" He will write these sentences like this "The red chair." or "The unrelenting light." I should be getting used to it by now, but it is little things like this that are getting in the way of my enjoyment of the book. There is a lot of sex in this book which distracts me. I admit to being somewhat uncomfortable with reading these scenes and figuring out exactly how they are significant to the story. Some are, most aren't. But that is just my humble opinion. To say if I like this book or not would be to simplify the issue here. Because my answer would be that yes, I do like it, and no, I don't. I am kept up at night reading it and I can't tell if it is because I am hooked or because I want to have it over with. The main character reminds me of Mersault from Camus' The Stranger. Perhaps it is just the way he is written. This character, Will, is not without feeling, yet he seems to be a passive man, living life as it happens to him rather than making it happen. I get the sense that this will change though, and so I read on.....

  • Jenn Jett-elton
    2019-04-01 00:22

    Hard to even talk about all the levels that this story touched me. Fierce, freak show gender queers fighting for their lives with magic, theater, fashion, and whatever else they can get their manicured or mangled hands on!This story is about surviving in the best way you know how, it's about chosen family, AIDS (living with it and outraging against those in power that do nothing but vilify). itIt's about class, race, culture, spirituality, genders, and sex. For queers of my generation, this is an homage to the generation before us, who created a path for us to follow.Thank you, Tom Spanbauer!

  • Dolphe
    2019-04-13 05:20

    "Language is my second language" ... This early line from "In the City of Shy Hunters" is as much a statement as it is a warning to readers as author Tom Spanbauer bitch slaps James Joyce and begins his tale. The storytelling isn't convenient, but neither are the lives his characters lead. Each in his or her own way, they have fashioned a means to battle their fears and find the sanity or insanity or resolution which brings them peace. You may find yourself sitting there puzzling over their choices. I am still sitting there.

  • Aidan Owen
    2019-04-04 23:33

    Exceptionally beautiful, raw, and real. One of the best novels I've read in a long time. It's not in the least realistic, and yet, it manages to capture Reality perfectly. As one of the characters says, once AIDS has started killing off so many many many people, "Goddmmit, I know I'm fucking crazy. But the grief and the rage are real! And the disease is real and the war is real!" The novel itself is like that--crazy in a way that makes it entirely lucid.

  • Eleanorknuckles
    2019-04-15 03:22

    A dark and extremely poetic novel full of treasures underneath piles and piles of really sad things.

  • Robin
    2019-04-18 03:28

    Spanbauer writes raw, aching stories of physical and emotional intimacy. He writes the kind of stories most people would hesitate to share. And his writing is always heart-breaking and beautiful.

  • Rachaell Hilyer
    2019-04-11 02:32

    Spanbauer has a way of addressing the dark parts of ourselves that we hide from others and ourselves. His characters are either eaten alive by their shadows, or they find a way to plummet into them, dance with them, and integrate them into their lives without the horrors of shame. An author that can actually address addiction and AIDS in a non-cliche way, he avoids overused puritan ethics to stain homosexuality, and instead addresses disease for what it is: sadness and pain of loss.

  • Thuri Calafia
    2019-03-23 04:20

    I know this is a really popular book. I had a really hard time with it, though, and honestly can't understand why it's so popular. In fact, it was because someone I knew ranted and raved about how great it was that made me want to read it. I have long supported GLBTQQ rights and have contributed regularly to AIDS organizations. I lost several dear friends to AIDS and was really looking forward to this story. But as I began reading, that hope quickly faded. There are some spoilers in my review, so you're warned. The first thing I had a hard time with was the endless repetition. The phrase "My breath in. My breath out," was repeated so many hundreds of times I came to feel like some version of this ("Her breath in. Her breath out") was on every page. As if that weren't bad enough, there were a few other specific phrases, such as his reference to the fact that his protagonist could roll a cigarette with one hand, "like I can," or some such. These constant repetitions got really old really fast. Larger in scope for me were the glaring plot problems and truly awful characterizations. Unfortunately, I found the characters to be a little too odd to be plausible. Truth IS stranger than fiction, and as writers, we need to remember that. In real life, I might have been able to find plausibility in the over-the-top weirdness of his characters, but in a story, there needs to be some believability, as well as some sort of depth to the characters. They were all pretty one-dimensional. I find it really hard to get into any story in which the protagonist is unlikable, and Will is so spineless, so unimaginative, so much of a chameleon that frankly, he disgusted me much of the time. I forced myself through this book, hoping that it would get better, that Will would somehow transform into a likable character with some sort of redeeming qualities. But then, near the end when we find out he totally betrayed his best friend (who we learn is also his brother), as well as his sister in a situation that causes his sister to continue to be unprotected from a molester and abuser (their father) and his best friend to disappear from his life, I knew Will would never become anything more than the pathetic wimp he'd been portrayed as from the beginning. When Will decides to actually stand up toward the very end of the book in a situation in which he completely overreacts (all that pent up guilt over his lack of a spine, perhaps?) toward a customer he's serving in a restaurant, the only feeling I had was "too little to late dude, and WTF are you coming uncorked NOW for? This leads to a few pretty little deus ex machinas that were SO far over the top and SO completely unbelievable that it was all I could do to keep from throwing the stupid book across the room. I would not recommend this book to anyone who likes a well written story, as it just isn't one. Don't waste your time the way I wasted mine.

  • Infatuated with Light
    2019-03-22 05:28

    Talk about getting punched in the gut...For a book with such an unassuming title, it is quite aggressive.In the City of Shy Hunters is a book that I discovered by accident, while I was bored out of my mind and scrolling through the fiction section in my library's database. When I opened it, the punching started immediatly.It is a long book, so I spent a good amount of time with it. When I would emerge back into reality and my step-mom would ask me what I did for the day, I wanted to say, "My good lady, you have no idea where I've been".Tom Spanbauer is able to transport the reader deep into the story, which is awesome and disturbing at the same time. He doesn't shy away from describing, well... every glorious detail. It's very messy and sometimes, I did feel like I was getting sick, in addition to wanting to take a shower everytime I closed the book.Usually, flashbacks are a big no-no for me, but they didn't bother me at all. It is the type of book that you often have to refer back to the beginning in order to understand some things, and I was okay with that.I'll admit, there was a moment when I stopped, looked up and asked myself, "Is it just me or is everybody dying from AIDS in this story?". That did throw me off for a little bit.Also, the ending jumped at me. When I turned the page and realized that there was nothing more, I frowned and was like, "That's it?!". It is the type of story that doesn't have a happy ending, but still... It felt like somebody pulled the rug from under my feet.I felt many things during my reading. I was very disturbed, most of the time I would have a knot in my stomach, and some other times the dry humor would crack me up so bad, people would step away from me.But it is definetly not the type of book you curl up with by the fireplace on a rainy night. In fact, you shouldn't curl up with that book at all. It's loud, has sharp edge, seems about to spontaneously combust at any moment and starts punching you from the moment you open it.I do not believe in perfection, and that's the only reason I gave this book four stars. The author accomplished a simple, yet at the same time difficult task: to make the reader feel.And I felt more things that I am comfortable sharing.

  • Gerhard
    2019-04-06 07:12

    "You're going this way and then shit happens and then you're going that way." This is the story of William of Heaven, how he was wounded by a blow of love, and his search for Charlie2Moons, redemption and enlightenment in New York in the dark days of the AIDS epidemic.What an extraordinary novel this is, brimming with pain and joy, life and death, heartache and grace, anger and pathos. It is the sort of larger-than-life canvas of a novel that you live in rather than read, that tears at your heart, messes with your head and makes you feel sexy, often all at the same time.Spanbauer's writing style is not for the faint of heart: he uses phrases, sentences and words like musical motifs, repeating them in various patterns and refrains. This makes for an often choppy, yet densely coded, reading experience that you just have to surrender yourself to, in order to gain the full effect. Magnificent.

  • John Treat
    2019-04-15 06:37

    "But it's not the truth." This is an incredible novel of New York (and to an extent, Idaho) in the 1980s, though you might not realize it until you're halfway through. Spanbauer can write, boy can he write. It's yet ANOTHER novel about screwed people of various sexual orientations but all on drugs in the East Village (I am really, really tired of these books, please, no one, don't write any more), but Spanbauer does it best-- it even surpasses Sarah Schulman's RAT BOHEMIA. IN THE CITY OF SHY HUNTERS is long, it could have ended much earlier or kept going-- it's that kind of endless, plot-less book. I enjoyed it all and learned a lot, even though I was leading the gay life in New York at exactly the same time in which the novel is set. That ramp in Paradise Garage was always thrilling to walk up.

  • Bob Schueler
    2019-03-28 06:25

    This is a significant book about the transvestite/transexual community in lower Manhattan at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. The writing style is unique and powerful. It offers insights into the community and the ways people rise to confront a variety of challenges as they search for identity and meaning in their lives. It's a bit ponderous at times, and the repetitive writing style can become grating, but it's a story that keeps you engaged and stays with you long after you finish reading it.

  • Kyla
    2019-04-03 04:37

    So far I am not thrilled, not thrilled at all. It's for a class so I am forced to trudge on...perhaps my feelings will change.Update: my feelings did not change. If you like messy, sprawling, pointless books you will enjoy the first 2/3's of this book. The problem with a bad book you must read for a class, is now I have to think about it deeply and write a coherent paper about it, rather than just throw it in the corner like it deserves.

  • Kat
    2019-04-01 01:33

    I was blown away by this book. This is a version of NYC in the early 80's unlike any other. The characters (especially Rose) and the writing inspired me to bring art into my everyday every day. Spanbauer's use of repitition should be used in lit classes everywhere. Some of the gory details are not for the faint of stomach, but the book as a whole is so worth getting through the hard parts.

  • TinHouseBooks
    2019-04-09 01:22

    Jakob Vala (Graphic Designer): In the City of Shy Hunters (Tom Spanbauer) has been shaming me from the middle of my to-read stack for far longer than I’d care to admit. Tom Spanbauer’s growly prose never fails to push me to manic prowling through his pages—foregoing sleep to reach the end. His torch song about the early days of AIDS in Manhattan constructs an elegiac mythology of death and survival. It’s about fear and fucking and heartbreak. It’s also about love.

  • Chalida
    2019-04-14 03:16

    A 500 page book in 4 days, not an easy task for book club. First 300 pages are tough to get sucked into, but then you're in. For me, this was an 80's period piece chronicling NY City and the AIDS epidemic in the gay community. The characters and the magical realism were a little over the top for me, but made me want to know more about the 80's in SF.

  • Julene
    2019-04-14 23:17

    I read this book while studying with Tom Spanbauer. It is a remarkable book that covers all the lexicon skills he has incorporated into Dangerous Writing. It tracks a young man who moves to NYC from the midwest and finds life in the lower east side. Elizabeth Taylor makes her appearances and it spins into a sureal ending in the bowels of the earth under Manhattan.