In the 1970s Paris had fashion, London had the theatre, Berlin had a small painting scene, but New York had all these cultural attainments and more - a vibrant intellectual life. In a decade when New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy, when local headlines were dominated by urban scandal, corruption and violence, the city flourished as never before as the center of 'uncompromising high culture masquerading as slouching, grinning gee-whiz - Wallace Stevens in sneakers.'
The representative figures of this New York were Susan Sontag, Jasper Johns, George Balanchine, among others - fierce cultural arbiters, 'martyr's to art' - living in a city that was still obsessed with the hierarchy of the arts and the idea of the Pure. From Isherwood to Mapplethorpe, Borges to Foucault, Brodkey to Burroughs, Edmund White knew them all, and writes about them in City Boywith love, affection, insight and often biting wit. It is a fascinating, personal journey through the vibrant and explosive New York of the 70s - featuring wonderful sideshows in San Francisco and a Venice presided over by the radiant Peggy Guggenheim - which proceeds joyfully from literary infighting at the New Yorkerto erotic entanglements downtown to the post-Stonewall burgeoning gay scene of artists and writers.
City Boyis a moving, candid and brilliant portrait of a time and place; a book of gossip, a book about sex and genius and living on the breadline; a rounded and stereoscopic vision from one of the most brilliant and engaging writers of his generation - and a book that, movingly, celebrates art and friendship as two of the most important components of the life well lived.