Fire Island: Love, Loss and Liberation in an American Paradise
Fire Island: a slim strip of land off the coast of New York, and a place of hedonism, reinvention, liberation. Arriving on the island after a break-up back home in England, scholar and poet Jack Parlett was beguiled by what he found.
Here were the halcyon scenes of Frank O’Hara’s poetry; the bars where Patricia Highsmith got drunk; the infamous cruising sites; and the dazzling beaches where couples had fallen in and out of love, free for a sun-kissed moment to be themselves in the time before gay liberation.
Tracing Fire Island’s rich history, Parlett leads the reader through the early days of the island’s life as a discreet home for same-sex love, to the wild parties of the post-Stonewall disco era, to the residents’ confrontation with the AIDS epidemic, and into a present where a host of new challenges threaten the island’s future. Lyrical and vivid, Fire Island is a hymn to an iconic destination, and to the men and women whose ardour and determination spread freedom across its shores.
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