Nights Too Short to Dance

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René suddenly feels like an old man. Recovering at home after an illness, his mind will not leave the past. He is both comforted and annoyed by the officious care provided by his Russian nurse, who keeps referring to him as a woman. It is a lifetime struggle. Right now, René just wants to get out of his pajamas and dress elegantly, as in the old days of playing piano in cabarets. A friend--or lover--will surely visit? And they do. René is soon surrounded. By the writer Johnie, the musician Doudouline, the theologian Polydor, the painter l'Abeille, and Gérard, who was lost but never forgotten.
They support each other, offering shelter from the snowy world outside. They reminisce about past loves, tragedies, fights. The Stonewall riots. The AIDS epidemic where they lost so much. The Women's March on Washington. They steel themselves to take on the monster of bigotry and intolerance whenever it rears its ugly head, as it always does, again and again.
Most of all, they find comfort and hope in each other's presence and in the continuing struggle to assert our own identities, to love how we wish, and to not be defined by what society expects.
An icon of queer literature, Marie-Claire Blais's characters bring to life pivotal moments in the fight for queer rights.

"Will American Readers Ever Catch on to Marie-Claire Blais? The French-Canadian novelist--who has lived in Florida for decades--has been writing brilliant, original fiction for more than half a century...For one thing, her magnum opus--a cycle of ten short novels, the eighth of which was recently translated into English--is set in Florida, where she has lived for decades. More pertinently, she of the most distinctive and original living writers of fiction."

--Pasha Malla "The New Yorker"

Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub date: October 17, 2023
260 pages
Format: Paperback