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Maury D'Annato

Safe to say most of the in-jokes are lost on all but the most hardcore reader. I'm an almost intolerable opera queen and am certain I missed plenty.

Much is fiction; some is semi-fiction. Some of the singers mentioned are clearly based on real singers, but of course Mawrdew is an amalgamation of the collective fantasies of opera queens as a whole. (In some interview McCourt I think mentioned that Zinka Milanov was a healthy part of the archetype, but obviously there is the spectre of Callas and plenty of others, really whoever the reader thinks of in that way that is a mix of reverence and madness.)

I do think Mawrdew has been relegated to cult status not wholly because of its thorough-going gayness, though. Verily, it is in places discursive to the point of incoherence, and of course there is not an enormous audience for books that make a flourish of basing a briefly mentioned character on Frida Leider...

Matthew Gallaway

Thanks for the comment, Maury. I was just struck by the Pynchonesque feel of the book and the fact the Gravitys Rainbow, which to me is in some ways even more arcane and impenetrable, won every award under the sun in 1974, whereas this has languished in some obscurity. Which is not to take anything away from Pynchon, or suggest that Mawrdew should be on every list of the most important books of the post-war period, but I do think that it should be cited as part of the canon more frequently than it currently is (or at least as far as I can tell). My sense is that if McCourt were writing a similarly obsessive book about say, motorcycles or a rock star or something not so clearly associated with the non-heterosexual world of opera, he would be closer to a household name (in the narrow literary sense, of course). 

Maury D'Annato

I see your point, Matthew, but I guess my thought is: opera is non-canonical even among gays the last few decades, so I'm not wholly convinced marginalization of gay topics is the real culprit. Not a huge Pynchon fan here, either, but I wonder if there are things in Pynchon that make up for the difficulties, whereas at times, for long stretches, McCourt just seems opaque and little more. I'm not sure which of us is right about this. You've probably put more thought into it, so quite possibly you.

Matthew Gallaway

I dont think its a question of right or wrong, Maury -- I will say that I think homophobia has a lot to do (or at least something to do) with the marginalization of opera in the post-war era (even among gays), but thats a lonnnnnnng discussion! Thanks again for reading/commenting!

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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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