The Man on the Third Floor

Overview

Walter Samson is a successful book editor in post-World War II New York. He has money, an interesting wife, two smart children, and reason to believe he's leading the good American life—until a chance meeting with Barry Rogers. Barry is blue-collar, handsome, single, and poor. Walter is instantly drawn to Barry and, despite the considerable risks, installs him in the Samson's three-story house on the Upper East Side, where the two men try to keep their amorous relationship secret. Against a backdrop of ...

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The Man on the Third Floor

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Overview

Walter Samson is a successful book editor in post-World War II New York. He has money, an interesting wife, two smart children, and reason to believe he's leading the good American life—until a chance meeting with Barry Rogers. Barry is blue-collar, handsome, single, and poor. Walter is instantly drawn to Barry and, despite the considerable risks, installs him in the Samson's three-story house on the Upper East Side, where the two men try to keep their amorous relationship secret. Against a backdrop of McCarthy-era fear and pervasive homophobia, Walter manages to alter the direction and course of his life, losing much but gaining more.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her 10th novel (after Short Pleasures), Bernays deftly articulates the difficulties faced by homosexuals during the McCarthy witch-hunt years. Walter Samson is a senior editor at Griffin House, a respected Manhattan publisher, where he discovers the right-wing “cash cow” author Edgar Fleming. Walter also meets Barry Rogers, a carpet-layer who, like Walter, is a closeted homosexual, and Walter soon persuades Barry to accept a position as handyman and chauffeur for the Samsons and to move into their home. Sheltered under one roof, the duo covertly indulge one another’s sexual appetites, and while Walter confesses that Barry is “the deepest, most satisfying love of my life,” he also fears losing his social standing and family. Walter’s daughter grows wise to her father’s exploits, followed by their blackmailing cook. After hearing word of Communist sympathizers in Griffin’s employ, Edgar abandons his publisher in a huff, and Walter’s “snake pit” deepens after a reporter exposes his affair. Bernays explores a dramatic era in American history and the psyches of her characters with equal ease in this well-written and entertaining new novel. Agent: Robert Guinsler, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Nov.)
Publishers Weekly
Bernays deftly articulates the difficulties faced by homosexuals during the McCarthy witch-hunt years. She explores a dramatic era in American history and the psyches of her characters with equal ease in this well-written and entertaining new novel.
Pulitzer Prize Winning Author - Annie Dillard
I just love this book. It's my favorite of all her books by light-years.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579622855
  • Publisher: Permanent Press, The
  • Publication date: 11/28/2012
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 1,457,622
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Bernays
This is Anne Bernays tenth novel. She is the co-author of three non-fiction books and scores of articles, book reviews and essays in national publications. A long-time teacher of writing, she is currently on the faculty of Lesley University's MFA program in writing and is a writing instructor at Harvard's Nieman Foundation. Her novel, Growing Up Rich, won the Edward Lewis Wallent Award and another novel, Professor Romeo was a New York Times Notable Book.

Biography

Anne Bernays is a novelist (including Professor Romeo and Growing Up Rich) and coauthor, with her husband, Justin Kaplan, of Back Then: Two Lives in 1950s New York. Her articles, book reviews and essays have appeared in such major publications as The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and The Nation. A longtime teacher of writing, she is coauthor, with Pamela Painter, of the textbook What If? Ms. Bernays currently teaches at Harvard's Nieman Foundation. She and Mr. Kaplan have six grandchildren. They live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Truro, Cape Cod.

Author biography courtesy of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Good To Know

Some fun and fascinating out takes from our interview with Bernays:

"I've written a memoir, Back Then, which has a lot of dicey stuff in it. And it's a good read! I'm fixated on how things work and how groups of people work with and against each other. I'm also a passionate liberal, and am convinced that this administration is so business-oriented that it's forgotten to serve the people who elected it. I'm a lifelong Democrat and have voted in every election since 1952."

"We have three daughters, five grandsons and one granddaughter. I think about them all the time. They have pet names for me. I don't see them nearly enough."

"Justin and I play word games at breakfast. I'm a demon walker and walk about ten miles – briskly -- a week. We have two dogs, Pansy and Daisy, who seem to occupy more time and emotional space than they ought to."

"Justin and I love to travel. We go on these ‘educational' trips, where Harvard professors tell you what you're going to see or what you have just seen."

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    1. Hometown:
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 14, 1930
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Wellesley College, 1948-1950; B A., Barnard College, 1952

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