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James van Maanen

Lovely piece. In some ways, only some, it brings to mind my own grandmother and grandfather. Thanks. And thanks, too, for all the pieces that I have NOT had time to comment on....


Beautiful, in The Gay Recluse manner.

Clearly, a reminiscence like yours resonates with more than a few people, especially those of immigrant ancestry. Our pedigrees are significantly different, at least on the surface, but I, too, was born with only one, surviving grandparent, a grandmother. She lived in Queens, in what seemed, to me, in my childhood, like a magical apartment, filled with treasures very much evoked by your blue, cased-crystal vase. I have her wedding band, which I've worn (on my right hand) for 30+ years (she had big hands); an art-deco torchiere (which was inexpensive, I'm certain, but a beautiful archetype, nonetheless); and a striking, fringed and beaded silk appliqué she sewed by hand. This piece was used as a closure on a dress she'd also sewn for herself, for going out dancing, in the Twenties (about a decade after her arrival in the U.S.). Apparently, she was quite the seamstress, and quite the social dancer. The dress is long gone, but the appliqué remains, a testament to a vigorously creative mind, which I sadly did not get to know.

Her carefully sewn, multi-colored, deco beadwork is like your neglected, tessellated, Washington Heights foyers: a talisman, conjuring entire worlds, and lives, of craftsmanship, internal aesthetic standards, and a search for joy and dignity in the chaos, upheaval, and constraints of early 20th-century, immigrant life.

Thanks, as usual, for bringing me back so adeptly, to a potent, personal memory.

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Gods final



A young boy wanders into the woods of Harlem and witnesses the abduction of his sister by a glowing creature. Forty years later, now working as a New York City homicide detective, Gus is assigned to a case in which he unexpectedly succumbs to a vision that Helen is still alive. To find her, he embarks on an uorthodox investigation that leads to an ancient civilization of gods and the people determined to bring them back.

In this colossal new novel from the author of The Metropolis Case, the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice collides with a new religion founded by three corporate office workers, creating something beautiful, illogical, and overwhelming. Part sex manifesto, part religious text, part Manhattan noir—with a dose of deadly serious, internet inspired satire—#gods is a sprawling inquest into the nature of faith and resistance in the modern world. With each turn of the page, #gods will leave you increasingly reborn.

Praise for #gods

“#gods is a mystery, an excavation of myths, an index of modern life, a gay coming-of-age story, an office satire, a lyrical fever dream, a conspiracy. One of the most ambitious novels in recent memory—and a wild, possibly transformative addition to the canon of gay literature—it contains multitudes, and seethes with brilliance.” —Mark Doten, author of The Infernal

“Matthew Gallaway’s #gods is a novel so brilliant, so funny, so full of strange and marvelous things, I couldn’t stop writing OMG WTF I <3 THIS SO MUCH in its margins. It’s rare to find a novel that so dazzlingly reinvigorates age-old meditations on faith and f&!*ing, art and eros. Luminous, enterprising, and sublimely cheeky, #gods tells the story, the myth, the dream of the human soul in all its glorious complexity.” —Suzanne Morrison, author of Yoga Bitch

“Matthew Gallaway’s storytelling manages to be both dreamy and serious; lean and luxurious. His words carry an incantatory power of mythic storytelling where beauty and savagery wrap around each other like bright threads in a gorgeous tapestry.” —Natasha Vargas-Cooper, author of Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960s America

“If the ancient gods were just like us, only more so, then the same could be said for this strange, wonderful book, in which the mundane sorrows and small triumphs of very ordinary lives glow ever so slightly around the edges, sometimes quite literally. At once an oddly romantic send-up of dead-end office culture and an offbeat supernatural procedural, #gods is terrifically weird, melancholy, sexy, and charming.” —Jacob Bacharach, author of The Bend of the World

The Metropolis Case

'It’s to the credit of Matthew Gallaway’s enchanting, often funny first novel that it doesn’t require a corresponding degree of obsession from readers, but may leave them similarly transported: the book is so well written — there’s hardly a lazy sentence here — and filled with such memorable lead and supporting players that it quickly absorbs you into its worlds.'

-- The New York Times

Music: Death Culture at Sea and Saturnine

Listen or download songs and records from my indie-rock past with Saturnine here and Death Culture at Sea here.

Music Video: Remembrance of Things Past

Watch the rock opera Remembrance of Things Past written and performed by Saturnine and Frances Gibson, starring Bennett Madison and Sheila McClear.

Video: The Chaos Detective

The Chaos Detective is a series about a man searching for 'identity' as he completes assignments from a mysterious organization. Watch the first episode (five parts) on YouTube.
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