Boyopolis: Sex and Politics in Gay Eastern Europe

Overview

Cruising the chaotic world of the mind and body that emerged in post-Communist Eastern Europe, Stan Persky, author of the gay underground bestseller Buddy's: Meditations on Desire, witnessed first-hand the sexual and political demi-monde that flourished during this period of upheaval. In these provocative pieces about his odyssey, Persky fascinatingly and intelligently lays bare the underbelly of Berlin - its "boyopolis" - a world of gay bars, houses of pleasure and cabarets. As a gay writer, a teacher of ...
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USA 1996 Hardcover First American Edition New in New jacket New First American Edition Copy! Excellent Find! Great Service and Great Prices from Aardvark Book Sales!

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Michael Hornburg (Jacket Design) Woodstock, NY 1996 Hardcover 1st American Edition, 1996 Brand New in Brand New jacket First Editions. 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. 417 pp. New book. ... Some pages still uncut. Book and dj in mint condition. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Cruising the chaotic world of the mind and body that emerged in post-Communist Eastern Europe, Stan Persky, author of the gay underground bestseller Buddy's: Meditations on Desire, witnessed first-hand the sexual and political demi-monde that flourished during this period of upheaval. In these provocative pieces about his odyssey, Persky fascinatingly and intelligently lays bare the underbelly of Berlin - its "boyopolis" - a world of gay bars, houses of pleasure and cabarets. As a gay writer, a teacher of philosophy and a journalist who grew up in Chicago in a Jewish/Italian neighborhood during the Cold War, Persky has a fascinating take on the reanimation of Berlin, whose underground thrived earlier in the century as chronicled by Isherwood, Spender and others.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gay Canadian journalist Persky's travelogue, extending from Berlin to Budapest between 1989 and 1995, is primarily a firsthand, impressionistic account of the social and economic chaos and new freedoms following the fall of Communism, yet he also injects graphic accounts of his own sexual adventures, bringing to light a homosexual subculture flourishing in gay bars and cafes across eastern and central Europe. A professor of philosophy in Vancouver, Persky meets "enigmatic, oracular" Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, debates politics with Hungarian post-Communist thinker Miklos Haraszti and encounters artists, dissidents, die-hard communists, human rights activists. A left-of-center journalist, he nevertheless welcomes the "economic shock therapy" of Poland's free-market plan. In one illustrated essay, German photographer Herbert List's idealized 1930s portraits of young boys along the Baltic coast serve as a springboard for Persky's free-form meditations on bodily desire and its suppression, on straight prostitution, homosexual hustling, Nazism, his Jewish heritage and working-class Chicago boyhood and the politics of gay liberation. Photos. Sept.
Library Journal
What is the price of coffee, a book on political economy, or a hustler in Prague, Warsaw, or Budapest? Persky considers all these questions within the context of Eastern European citizenry, adrift as they try to reshape their countries and their lives from the rubble of totalitarian rule. A journalist and political studies professor at Capilano College in Vancouver, B.C., Persky combines an academic's observant eye with a sexually frank autobiography of desire during his years of travel there. He visits two Albanian dictionary translators and meets a gay Polish rock singer hungry for Western fame and the luxuries he expects it to bring. Along the way are descriptions of an eclectic assortment of prostitutes, artists, government officials, and intellectuals who vividly describe, mostly in complaint, life in the new democracies of Eastern Europe. An oddly personal account of political and social collapse and reconstruction, Persky's astute observations, together with his powerful, often beautiful writing, bring the grand scale of political revolution down to the level of personal empathy and understanding. This eccentric, challenging, yet ultimately satisfying book is recommended for most larger collections.Jeffery Ingram, Newport P.L., Ore.
Kirkus Reviews
Rambling and self-indulgent, this collection is an awkward hybrid—part philosophical treatise on desire and political change (though regrettably short on the connections between the two), part travelogue, part sexual adventurer's memoir.

Boyopolis's subtitle is misleading; there is very little about "gay Eastern Europe" here. Persky himself (a columnist for Canada's Globe and Mail) is gay, and there is plenty about his own desires—he finds beautiful young boys, often hustlers, wherever he goes. But apart from affairs and visits to gay bars in Berlin, Budapest, and Vilnius, Lithuania, and an interview with a gay Polish rock singer, the author has disappointingly little contact with gay people and communities. He's put off by the slightest obstacle; finding that there are no gay bars in Zagreb, for instance, he gives up, content to believe that their very absence tells him something. His self-absorption makes his social interactions embarrassing—though entertaining—to read about and allows him to exaggerate the value of his own observations. Such meditations are part of the great pleasure of traveling alone, but Persky's perorations on philosophy, the end of communism, eroticism, etc., are quite thin. Perhaps most disappointing, though Persky interviews political reformers wherever he goes, his essays yield little insight into the impact of the end of Communism on gay people in Eastern Europe; the homosexuality in this book (which is mostly Persky's own) is oddly dislocated from its other thread—which is the grandiose project of understanding the broader geopolitical changes of the late 20th century.

The exciting potential of this project goes largely unrealized; one hopes someone will pick up from where Persky left off and actually find out something about gay lives in one of the world's fastest-changing, most fascinating regions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879516901
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 1.42 (d)

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