"Plays Well With Others," by Allan Gurganus. Knopf. 336...

Book Brief

November 16, 1997|By Richard Eder | Richard Eder,The Los Angeles Times

"Plays Well With Others," by Allan Gurganus. Knopf. 336 pages. $25.

Nowhere have the depictions of AIDS been more visible thaamong our communities of actors, writers, dancers, artists and musicians. The arts, of course, are peculiarly fitted to make visible the vital preoccupations in this case, the horror and anger of those who exercise them. Many of them are gay, and it is one of the grievous ironies that the upsurge of gay themes in the 1980s, an artistic coming out of the closet, coincided with the start of a worse closeting.

Allan Gurganus, author of the highly praised "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All," sets his new book, "Plays Well With Others," in the New York arts world of the time. It was a decade, as he depicts is, that began with a near-bacchanalian sense of freedom for gay artists and ended with their decimation.

"Plays Well With Others" is an updating, in a sense, of Daniel Defoe's "A Journal of the Plague Year," a novel in chronicle form about the great plague that devastated London in 1664. Gurganus laces Defoe quotes throughout his book, which, like its predecessor, is a weaving of fact and fiction.

Pub Date: 11/16/97

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