by Edmund White - £7.99 Bloomsbury Publishing (2008)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780747592792 | ISBN 10: 0747592799
A moving, expertly-crafted novel from one of New York's most prolific authors.
Stephen Crane is writing a new story, and it may be his last. The year is 1900. The famous author of The Red Badge of Courage is travelling to a Black Forest clinic in search of a cure for the tuberculosis that threatens his life. He dictates to his wife, Cora, the story of ‘The Painted Boy’, inspired by a real-life encounter with a fifteen-year-old newsboy, Elliott, one wintry day in the Bowery.
In the story Elliott is an impressionable, elusive boy. He finds himself the object of the hopeless affections of Theodore, the staid middle-aged banker, who sets him up in his own apartment and visits him every day. Elliott frequents the Fairy Saloons of turn-of-the-century Manhattan, home to an outrageous, hedonistic group of raggle-taggle transvestites. Slowly, Theodore is drawn into a seedy underworld of secrets and betrayal that endangers their love, their homes, and their lives.
The story grows as Crane’s strength deteriorates, and the outcome of the story becomes as critical as the author’s life itself. Atmospheric and tender, Hotel de Dream is a deftly layered novel of longing, both gay and straight.
"When Edmund White writes about Stephen Crane, it is the case of one American master turning his attention to another. The book is a marvel of the subtle layers of story-telling, and at every layer it is fascinating, tragic, and utterly beautiful."
(Price & availability last checked: July 2018)