City Boy, By Edmund White

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The Independent Culture

"You've written four autobiographical novels and one real autobiography. Haven't you already covered this material?" So an interviewer asks Edmund White at the end of this latest memoir.

"Oddly enough I haven't," he replies, and proves so in these profound, pithy, and perceptive reflections on 1960s and 1970s New York, which pay particular attention to an emerging gay consciousness and his own turbulent development as a writer and gay man.

None of White's material appears rehashed or glib, with its seamless blend of city history, literary diary and gossip chronicle. The city, described so vigourly, appears embodied and inseparable from his portrait of the struggling – and emerging – artist as a young man.