Sunday, December 30, 1979

The San Francisco Voice reviews Richard Grayson's WITH HITLER IN NEW YORK

The current (December 29, 1979) issue of the San Francisco Voice has a review by Daniel Curzon of Richard Grayson's With Hitler in New York:

Taplinger Publishing Co., 200 Park Ave. South, NY, NY 10003

Buy this book! It's wonderful. It costs only $7.95. Where else can you get as much pleasure -- both emotional and intellectual -- for so little?

At first I thought With Hitler in New York wasn’t very gay in its content, but the stories get gayer later in the book. Richard Grayson is a real writer, whether he’s writing on gay themes or not. He’s witty and deep, playful and honest. I don’t know whether he is gay or not. I hope he is, because we need all the first-rate writing we can get. If encouraged, Grayson might more explicitly gay-themed stories. (indeed, if all the gay writers wrote about gay life and left straight life to the straight writers, there’d be precious little straight stuff written)

If you’ve been reading the bulk of the books coming out of the big New York presses and finding yourself slowly starving to death for genuine artistic nourishment, buy this book. For the truth, dear friends, is that if readers who like soul-satisfying fiction don’t buy these books when they appear – less and less often, please note – then very soon they won’t be able to buy them at all. They simply won’t be published, and we can all die of literary malnutrition.

The situation in publishing is much worse than I suspected. I’ve always discounted the so-called American preoccupation with making money. But I’ve come to realize at last that vulgar is really all that publishers care about. The corporations are destroying literature. They must be stopped. They are robber barons, neither pure nor simple, who care only about profits, profits, and more profits, just like the oil companies. If you think this doesn’t matter, just remember that these corporations control what you read. They have a monopoly on the market. They must be required to publish quality fiction in the same way that the FCC requires TV and radio stations to broadcast some quality programming. No corporation should be allowed to keep true literature out of your hands just because they have the power to do so.

Don’t read With Hitler in New York all at once. The blunt, declarative sentences are best appreciated when spread out. I also think the author shouldn’t have included three stories about how hard it is to write a story. Two would have been enough.

But there is much here that is truly beautifully done, like the story about an uncle the narrator hates, and “The Princess from the Land of Porcelain,” which may be the finest story about a lesbian ever written.

Richard Grayson probably had to ill to get a collection of stories published by anybody in these disgusting days. The least the literate reader can do is avoid the chaff from Avon, Dell, and the like, and get this book, the real stuff.

-- Daniel Curzon / IGNA

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