Monkey Suits

Monkey Suits

by Jim Provenzano

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Overview

Monkey Suits by Jim Provenzano

"The cater waiter is the ultimate illusion; queer posing as straight, liberal posing as conservative, hedonist posing as eunuch."

In his second novel, Jim Provenzano (author of the acclaimed PINS) explores Manhattan society life from the servants' point of view. Monkey Suits serves up a compassionate and witty tale of 1980s class warfare, and the romantic entanglements of a quintet of tuxedo-clad waiters.

Lee Wyndam's work-related affairs lead to more frustration than he'd expected. Drawn to activism, his passion may finally blossom. His ex-boyfriend Brian Burns' foray into "the oldest profession" leads to a strange encounter. Ed Seabrook, Brian's spiritual boyfriend, Marcos Tierra, a sassy club kid, and Ritchie Hurst, a (mostly) straight sculptor, each have their lives forever changed by a tumultuous benefit protest.

"Jim Provenzano captures an era in gay history with humor and poignancy. He has become one of our strongest voices."

--poet Alex Gildzen

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780595282562
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/06/2003
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.55(d)

About the Author

Jim Provenzano is the author of the novels 'PINS,' 'Monkey Suits' and 'Cyclizen,' the stage adaptation of 'PINS,' as well as numerous published short stories and freelance articles.

The curator of 'Sporting Life,' the world's first gay athletics exhibit, he also wrote the syndicated Sports Complex column for ten years. An editor with the 'Bay Area Reporter,' he lives in San Francisco. www.myrmidude.org

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Monkey Suits 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What was it like to be an out gay man in New York City just as the AIDS activist group ACT UP became popular? And what's it like to serve dinner to the wealthy who ignored the AIDS crisis while struggling with your own growing anger? This is what author Provenzano explores in an ensemble novel about a group of waiters, some of whom ignore the crisis, others who work within the echelons of upscale servants before abandoning that world. While not as impassioned, deeply symbolic and poetic as his first novel, 'Pins,' he does weave amusing metaphors of Egyptian culture (and Anubis/dogs as well), portraying Manhattan as a slave culture of sorts. The handsome, sometimes horny gay men in the book have their lives intermingling. Chapters shift mostly from one guy to another, with a few asides for a sarcastic yet humane portrayal of a socialite who means well, but becomes the subject of a bumbled protest because of her homophobic husband. While the depiction of a Marianne Williamson-type 'faith healer' is not a parody ('God Did Not Create AIDS, therefore AIDS Does not Exist' was actually one of her obtuse mantras), it seems to be a critique in contrast to the eventual activist stance of the main character, Lee. With its rich detail, based on obvious experience in both worlds, Provenzano's narration takes on a dishy character all its own, extolling the excess. Urban and urbane, the humor is sometimes sidetracked by too-brief touching moments; the waiters stopping to hear a mourning co-worker play at a piano, one character's coming out as HIV-positive under a Central Park snowfall. Yet it captures an era now lost, and makes one wonder who among these tuxedoed men may have survived.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What was it like to be an out gay man in New York City just as the AIDS activist group ACT UP became popular? And what's it like to serve dinner to the wealthy who ignored the AIDS crisis while struggling with your own growing anger? This is what author Provenzano explores in an ensemble novel about a group of waiters, some of whom ignore the crisis, others who work within the echelons of upscale servants before abandoning that world. While not as impassioned, deeply symbolic and poetic as his first novel, 'Pins,' he does weave amusing metaphors of Egyptian culture (and Anubis/dogs as well), portraying Manhattan as a slave culture of sorts. The handsome, sometimes horny gay men in the book have their lives intermingling. Chapters shift mostly from one guy to another, with a few asides for a sarcastic yet humane portrayal of a socialite who means well, but becomes the subject of a bumbled protest because of her homophobic husband. While the depiction of a Marianne Williamson-type 'faith healer' is not a parody ('God Did Not Create AIDS, therefore AIDS Does not Exist' was actually one of her deluded mantras), it seems to be a critique in contrast to the eventual activist stance of the main character, Lee. With its rich detail, based on obvious experience in both worlds, Provenzano's narration takes on a dishy character all its own, extolling the excess. Urban and urbane, the humor is sometimes sidetracked by too-brief touching moments; the waiters stopping to hear a mourning co-worker play at a piano, one character's coming out as HIV-positive under a Central Park snowfall. Yet it captures an era now lost, and makes one wonder who among these tuxedoed men may have survived.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wasn't expecting anything like PINS,the author' first, and it wasn't. But once again, a whole subculture is thoroughly explored, this time in 80s New York among a sort of hive of worker bees; cater waiters, mostly gay. His details are expansive and dishy, like a sort of gossip columnist who went to these parties. The interaction between the characters, whle sometimes pithy, develops into hurt, anger, fear of AIDS, or denial of it, and passion. Some of the sex scenes (in unusual places!) are hilarious. Instead of forcing an activist agenda, he shows how some people become swept up in it, to their own benefit (Lee and Cal), deal with it in their own quiet way (Ed), or race through it (Brian). The difference between these guys made it feel like the ensemble style of 'Queer As Folk,' but the setting's more like 'Bonfire of the Vanities.' The whole story is framed around what these guys do in, and out of, their tuxedoes. The plot doesn't really jump at you, but escalates. The clever blend of fact and fiction edges close to a few celebrity outings (!!), but it's really about the transformation of some otherwise invisible servants in Manhattan.