Outline of My Lover
The twentieth-anniversary edition of an early autofiction classic.
On the fringes of the music scene in a Southern college town, a lonely young student driven to flee a troubled adolescence pursues and forms a life-altering relationship with an acclaimed artist-musician. Their understanding develops in a pattern of sex and reticence, soon impacting both their paths and greatly shifting expectations. Written “as if telling the truth was a matter of survival” (Andrew O’Hagan), it is a queer bildungsroman.
This book is full of hard-won, fraught, unsparing emotional truth. It is a love story between a raw and damaged boy-narrator and a famously mysterious rock star. But more than that, it is a piece of stylish and ferociously sharp prose. I love its fierce concentration and levels of obsession.
I’d internalized something from Outline of My Lover, less a lesson than a sensibility, or maybe a hunger. From a permission it had become a goad: write well, or why write anything?