Disorderly Men

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Three gay men in pre-Stonewall New York City find their fates thrown together in the police raid of a Village bar.

Roger Moorhouse is a Wall Street banker and Westchester family man with a preciously guarded secret. As the shouting begins and flashlights blaze in his face, the life he's carefully curated over the years--a fancy new office overlooking lower Broadway, a house in Beechmont Woods, his wife and children--is about to come crashing down around him.

Columbia literature professor Julian Prince lives a comparatively uncloseted life when he finds his first committed relationship tested to its limits. How could he explain to Gus, a fearless young artist, that he couldn't stay with him that weekend because the woman who was still technically Julian's fiancée would be visiting? But when Gus is struck unconscious by a police baton, Julian comes out of hiding to protect him, even if exposure means losing everything.

For Danny Duffy, an Irish kid from the Bronx with a sassy mouth and a diverse group of friends, the raid is a galvanizing, Spartacus moment. Danny doesn't have too much left to lose; his family has just disowned him. But once his name appears in the newspaper, he'll be fired from his job at Sloan's Supermarket, where he's risen to assistant manager of produce, and begin a journey that veers between political enlightenment and violent revenge.

The three men find themselves in a police wagon together, their hidden lives threatened to be revealed to the world. Blackmail, a private investigator, Gus's disappearance, and Danny's quest for retribution propel Disorderly Men to its piercing conclusion, as each man meets the boundaries of his own fear, love, and shame. The stakes for each are different, but all of them confront a fundamental question: How much happiness is he allowed to have . . . and what share of it will he lay claim to?

About the Author

Edward Cahill is Professor of English at Fordham University. He is the author of Liberty of the Imagination: Aesthetic Theory, Literary Form, and Politics in the Early United States. Disorderly Men is his first novel. Learn more at www.edwardcahill.net.

In New York City half a dozen years before Stonewall, gay men knew who they loved but not yet who they were. Cahill brings their world to life in a big-hearted novel of existential suspense. A closeted banker fences with a blackmailer, an English professor searches for a brutalized lover, and a grocery store manager loses his job and his family, and the reader turns the pages faster and faster to find out not just whether these men make it but also how gays became people of integrity at a time when shame was so deeply nested in laws, institutions, and their own psyches. Cahill paints on a grand canvas the internal, individual revolutions that came before the historic one.---Caleb Crain, author of Overthrow and Necessary Errors

Publisher: Fordham University Press
Pub date: September 05, 2023
320 pages
Format: Hardcover