Edmund White

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Our Young Man

book | Fiction | Apr 2016
World English → Bloomsbury Publishing (Ed. Anton Mueller)

Our Young Man follows the life of a gorgeous Frenchman, Guy, as he goes from the industrial city of Clermont-Ferrand to the top of the modeling profession in New York City's fashion world, becoming the darling of Fire Island's gay community. 

Like Wilde's Dorian Gray, Guy never seems to age; at thirty-five he is still modelling and still enjoying lavish gifts from older men who believe he's twenty-three, though their attentions always come at a price. Yet, Guy lets them believe, driven especially by the memory of growing up poor, until he finds he needs the lie to secure not only wealth, but love itself. 

Surveying the full spectrum of gay amorous life through the disco era and into the age of AIDS, Edmund White (who worked at Vogue for ten years) explores the power of physical beauty - to fascinate, to enslave, and to deceive - with sparkling wit and pathos.


Helen Manders manages the translation rights for Our Young Man

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The audio rights are handled by Liz Farrell.

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Bruno Gmunder Verlag
Playground Edizioni

Our Young Man is White's most elegant, realised and charming novel in decades - vital proof that, in fiction, the old hand can outplay any of the young pretenders.

Literary Review

Smart, worldly, erudite, well-connected, and funny . It's a picaresque story of one person's life and career, and a comedy of manners . The worldliness recalls Colette's descriptions of fin-de-siècle and 1920s Paris . Our Young Man is informative, wise, and amusing, and you can't help wondering who the originals were, though you know, of course, that it's only a novel

New York Review of Books

Beguilingly treacherous and deceptive... impishly turning our attention towards the obvious, while subtler, weightier matters churn on elsewhere. He never descends to savage satire. This open-heartedness, an essential White quality, makes his writing sparkle with generosity. Every detail is alive and gleaming. It is also a book that floats above things, so light is its touch, so playful and joyous its execution.


‘Our Young Man’ Reframes a 19th-Century Work in the 1980s

Mr. White found a plot in modernizing and adapting an obscure 19th-century French novel, Alphonse Daudet’s “Sapho.” Mr. White, 76, described the process as a game in which he found little ways to update characters and ideas for New York’s gay scene of the 1980s.

Joshua Barone
The New York Times (Interview)
Full Review

Forever YOUNG

This sad, heartfelt, an comic coming-of-age story looks at both the stifling social pressure and near-total freedom that fueled then-magic nights at Fire Island.

Joe Klarl
Full Review

Our Young Man is classic Edmund White, exploring the universal desire to be known, desired, accepted and at what cost.

A.M. Homes
Full Review

Thank you, Edmund, for insisting on our differences while reminding us, as well, that none of us is truly different, not in our innermost selves.

Michael Cunningham
Full Review

A closely written, multidimensional coming-of-age novel that captures a time of whispers, elaborate codes, and not inconsiderable danger.

Full Review

Amanda Urban
+1 212 556 5600
Email Amanda Urban
Translation Rights
Helen Manders
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
Email Helen Manders