THIS WEEK’S OTHER FEATURED BOOKS, “A SPIDER SAT BESIDE HER,” BY K.E. LANNING AND “BLUE OR BLUE SKIES,” BY ROBIN STRATTON, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, OR BY CLICKING THE AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR PAGE.
THE BOOK: The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House
PUBLISHED IN: 2015
THE AUTHOR: John Whittier Treat
THE PUBLISHER: Big Table Publishing Company
SUMMARY: Seattle, 1983. Frightened by the growing epidemic that has stricken his friends, Jeff flees New York for the Pacific Northwest, only to realize AIDS has a foothold in his new home. As he distracts himself with alcohol and one-night stands, Jeff meets Henry, an alluring younger man with a weakness for heroin. Despite the jarring contrasts in their personalities and backgrounds, the two are drawn inexorably together. But as their love develops, so do numerous complications. In an effort to halt their freefall into addiction, Jeff and Henry move in with Nan, a middle-aged divorcee who has turned her home into a sanctuary for gay men in crisis. The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House revisits the early years of AIDS in the Northwest with vivid detail, unrelenting honesty, and a profound compassion for a generation lost to the plague.
THE BACK STORY: “Seattle, in the words of essayist Charles D’Ambrosio, is an ‘unwritten city.’ It is true: Fiction from and about the Pacific Northwest is a literature of dense forests, tall mountains, and craggy coastlines. Conversely, novels about AIDS are overwhelmingly set in cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and, above all, New York. But there are other places where the epidemic descended as well, and in the far upper-left corner of the United States, that place was Seattle.”
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: This is a novel, based on a true story, about gay men in the Pacific Northwest in the first years of the AIDS crisis.
Kirkus Reviews called it “a compassionate, engrossing novel of life in the early plague years, depicted here with authentic detail and a true heart.”
Lambda Literary said “Treat has given the world a great story, and a time capsule of a history that needs to be told.”
John Whittier Treat lives in Seattle with his husband after growing up in the Northeast and living in Japan and Korea for many years. Treat has taught literature at the University of Washington, Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Texas and Yale. He has also spent time as faculty at universities in Australia and Norway. He has published short stories in Section 8, Jonathan, A&U Magazine and the QDA: Queer Disability Anthology. His work will also appear in an anthology of HIV/AIDS poetry now being edited by New York poet Michael Broder. In 2015 Big Table Publishing Company issued his novel, The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House, about the early years of the HIV epidemic and drug addiction in the Pacific Northwest. It was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Award for Best Gay Fiction in 2016. His opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and Out magazine. Treat is now at work on a novel about a stutterer who saves the world, First Consonants, and the University of Chicago Press will publish his history of modern Japanese literature in 2018.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: “The writing took a toll on me. I was forced to mourn my losses all over again, but I discovered, at the end, an elegy that unexpectedly freed me from surrendering to any more grief. Nietzsche said, ‘We have art in order not to die from the truth.’”
SAMPLE CHAPTER: See Amazon page.
LOCAL OUTLETS: University Bookstore, Seattle
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon.com
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: http://www.johntreat.com