American Scholar – a NYC writer finds inspiration from his deceased lover’s recently discovered unopened letter
American Scholar tells the story of a man driven to discover, but afraid to know the truth about himself and his loves past and present. James Fitzgerald likes his life the way it is. He has a stable academic career teaching American literature; a comfortable townhouse in Brooklyn; a satisfying, open marriage with his partner of fifteen years; a sweet and playful young boyfriend; and a recently-published, well-received novel about a famous early-twentieth-century Harvard professor.
But his poise is shattered when a woman appears at a book signing bearing a surprise gift: an unsent letter from her brother Gregory, James’ first boyfriend and—ever since Gregory’s sudden death twenty-five years ago—the dark gravitational centre of James’ intellectual and emotional life. What follows is a near hallucinatory night of soul-questioning as James, wandering the streets of New York, re-examines his stormy, life-altering relationship with Gregory, a charismatic, self-destructive activist and writer, and the real impetus behind James’ new novel.
The novel rapidly shifts between the late 1980s, when AIDS cut a deadly swath through the gay community, and the dawn of the Trump era where social media and political polarization threaten another kind of death sentence.
Available from Lethe Press.
Patrick E. Horrigan was born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, and received his BA from The Catholic University of America and his PhD from Columbia University. He is the author of the novel PENNSYLVANIA STATION (Lethe Press; Indie Book Award finalist for best LGBTQ2 fiction) and the novel PORTRAITS AT AN EXHIBITION (Lethe Press; winner of the Dana Award for fiction as well as the Mary Lynn Kotz Art-in-Literature Award, sponsored by the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts). His other works include the memoir WIDESCREEN DREAMS: GROWING UP GAY AT THE MOVIES (University of Wisconsin Press), the play MESSAGES FOR GARY: A DRAMA IN VOICEMAIL, and (with Eduardo Leanez) the solo show YOU ARE CONFUSED! He has written artists’ catalogue essays for Thion’s LIMI-TATE: DRAWINGS OF LIFE AND DREAMS (cueB Gallery, London) and Ernesto Pujol’s LOSS OF FAITH (Galeria Ramis Barquet, New York). His essay “The Inner Life of Ordinary People” appears in Anthony Enns’ and Christopher R. Smit’s SCREENING DISABILITY: ESSAYS ON CINEMA AND DISABILITY (University Press of America). He and Mr. Leanez are the hosts of ACTORS WITH ACCENTS, a recurring variety show in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Winner of Long Island University’s David Newton Award for Excellence in Teaching, he taught literature for twenty-five years at LIU Brooklyn. He lives in Manhattan.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.