Nominated for 2014 Lambda Literary Award as Best Novel
Review from Lambda Literary:
John Stewart Wynne’s THE RED SHOES (Magnus), set in contemporary New York City, is a beautifully dark queer re-visioning of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same title. Wynne immediately engages the reader with finely detailed descriptions, nuanced character development, and an air of mystery that makes the 428-page text read like a novella.
THE RED SHOES (A Novel)
The red shoes propel the narrator JOHN LAITH on a perilous journey through both the affluent and seedy sides of a vividly brought to life Manhattan. There are plenty of suspenseful twists and turns in store for him as he tries to survive newfound ties to chillingly unforgettable characters: CREWE JAMES, a multi-millionaire living with his imperious wife and daughter in a Gothic castle-like Central Park penthouse, who has his own dark agenda for Laith . . . SILVIO, a taciturn Brooklyn cop with a propensity for rough sex . . . BAILY, a spunky, drug-fueled bouncer in a Chelsea Eurotrash nightclub owned by his boss MAXO who works hands-on at the front bar yet oversees some lucrative “business” in the backroom . . . PATRIZIA, Maxo’s absinthe-addicted, ethereally beautiful lady, who tries to be a protective fairy godmother to Laith . . . and JARED, a fresh-faced boy from the country who comes to New York to seek fame but finds ruin instead. In scenes both shocking and poignant, John Laith spirals down into a dark world of escalating drug use and sexual oblivion. Is it because of the malevolent power of a pair of red shoes? Or is he acting on his own hidden desires? Through a surreal fog of increasing menace, John Laith searches for spiritual clarity and a respite from grieving the loss of his lover. He is locked in a fierce battle between the sacred and the profane until a shattering revelation finally forces him to choose between them.
Advance praise for THE RED SHOES
KATE CHRISTENSEN— “I read this so fast I got blisters turning pages. This is so astonishingly good, original, beautiful and amazing . . . it’s like a sumptuous meal with all flavors—salty, bitter, sweet, hot. I love the Gothic feeling of terrible impending doom and the counterbalancing elements of light. I think it’s a great work of art.”
BEN SCHRANK—“The narrator is as fully realized and endearing a character as I’ve ever known. The novel is cohesive, charming, sad and a true achievement. It’s really very grand.”
Read an excerpt from THE RED SHOES
Credits: Photographs of Wynne marquees by Jeff Fusco
Photograph of John Stewart Wynne at the Café Reggio, Greenwich Village, New York, by Steve Gross and Sue Daley