THE RED SHOES
“I read this so fast I got blisters turning pages.
“THE RED SHOES is so astonishingly good, original, beautiful and amazing . . . it’s like a sumptuous meal with all flavors—salty, bitter, sweet, hot.
“I was riveted—John Stewart Wynne writes such brilliant back and forth dialogue. I love the Gothic feeling of terrible impending doom, and the counterbalancing elements of light. I am really astounded at the way Wynne writes about sex—how deep it can go, the different ways it can satisfy.
“His writing is free of compromise, fear . . . he never pulls his punches. And his voice really doesn’t sound like anyone else’s. He has an almost hyperreal quality, the rare ability to write on a plane floating just above life, or below it, to stay with what is happening just beyond the actions and conversations of his characters. I feel as if I have been given a special line into the narrator’s soul.
“THE RED SHOES is so pure and beautiful and real and I am entranced by it. I think it is a great work of art.”
2008 PEN/Faulkner Best American Work of Fiction Award for THE GREAT MAN
“The narrator is as fully realized and endearing a character as I’ve ever known. The first person worked so well here. The novel is cohesive, charming, sad and a true achievement. It’s really very grand.”
LOVE IS A CANOE
“I loved the mysteriousness of everything and everybody in THE RED SHOES which gripped my attention throughout and had me mesmerized. I loved the way the novel’s preoccupations with loss, danger and safety would loom in and out of view in the surreal fog of drugs, sex and dark humor. I found it quite haunting and didn’t want it to end.”
—Stephen D. Adams
THE OTHER WORLD
“If there is a bright spot at all to this country’s history of puritanical repression, it is in its tradition of ‘outsider’ art, art fueled by feelings of otherness that have been shared by certain artists [such as] Tennessee Williams, Carson McCullers, and Truman Capote . . . And now there’s John Wynne, whose first collection of stories, THE OTHER WORLD, is among the most remarkable books I have ever read.
“Wynne’s perspective is dark and terrifying, and is made all the more so by his stark, vivid descriptions of contorted states of mind and, strangely, by his beautiful, at times lyrical, use of language. His style is disorienting.
“There are six stories in THE OTHER WORLD and at least three are masterpieces, as good as anything written recently.
“This is disturbing stuff, but lovely as well, haunting and powerful. John Wynne deserves a wider audience, for his is a unique vision. THE OTHER WORLD is one of the best books of the decade.”
—The James White Review
“With so much tepid and sentimental fiction coming out, John Wynne’s stories in THE OTHER WORLD are like a plunge in cold water. With a near-Brechtian intensity of focus and an infallible ear for dialogue, Wynne casts a laser eye on the things we say, so different from what we mean. Sometimes the world is as other as Hieronymous Bosch, sometimes as other as simply being queer. People on the edge, the margins of love. How exciting it is to experience the flowering of Wynne’s early promise. A book to handle with asbestos gloves, but well worth the walk through fire.”
National Book Award for BECOMING A MAN
“The other world is the dark underside of human lives and compulsions . . . This walk on the wild side of human nature can be startling, outrageous, frightening, and sometimes even funny, but Wynne’s smooth, commanding style keeps the shocks in these stories from becoming mannered or numbing.”
“In this short story collection, the other world is ours and John Wynne shows it to us through the pitiless eyes of characters tightroping over twisted personal histories . . . Wynne’s prose is chiseled and precise. And in pages that tremble with beauty, Wynne gracefully reveals the darker side of human possibilities.”
“The hidden, seamy underbelly of lives that appear civilized and rational is the obsession of these stories by an author known for his fascination with the dark side . . . Whether set in the Midwest, the Upper East Side, Times Square or the South, Wynne (CRIME WAVE) manages relentlessly to tap into people’s unconscious urges.”
“The other world John Wynne describes in these stories is terrifying. And it is breathlessly, horribly recognizable as ours. This is an incredibly powerful book.”
Lambda Literary Award for THE GIFTS OF THE BODY
“CRIME WAVE, John Wynne’s first novel, is a disturbing and well written book. An impressive work for those with strong stomachs. Its genre is Manhattan lumpen Gothic and the imagery of its terrain, crab-lice and vomit, prostitution, rape and Yamahas. Or as Stewart, the destructive mechanic, puts it: ‘You can fuck everybody over and they won’t say shit.’ It wanders through psychopathic dreams of electrocuted babies and brothels with one-legged tarts, but the book has a compelling and terrible beauty.”
—Barbara Trapido, The Spectator
SEX AND STRAVINSKY
“CRIME WAVE is about personal and social sado-masochism. The plot allows John Wynne to describe several relationships demonstrating different combinations and proportions of dominance and subordination . . . The author’s challenging aim seems to be to show that there is no such thing as ‘mindless violence,’ whether directed towards the self or towards others. Each aggressive act is the result of a long cycle of action and reaction, continued through generations. CRIME WAVE is an ambitious first novel.”
—Jenny Uglow OBE, The Times Literary Supplement
A GAMBLING MAN; ELIZABETH GASKELL
“I strongly urge anyone with an interest in gay fiction to read John Wynne’s recent chapbook, THE SIGHTING. There is nothing else quite like it, for no other writer has experimented with gay experience in the context of our adolescence in straight America in such a direct, sensual and imaginative manner.”
—Gordon Montador, Body Politic
“THE SIGHTING is absorbingly disconcerting, using the supernatural—or surreal—with a discretion that is particularly successful. The story ‘s 1950s Middle West small town teenage setting—full of randy high school adolescents racing their jalopies to drive-in movies, whose coarse normality is contrasted with a sensitive youth’s realization that he is attracted to other boys—is gradually invaded by elements from another realm of experience—or, perhaps, another kind of literature. There are sightings of a flying saucer above the town, Bela Lugosi in person appears, and at the climax these two interventions are bizarrely and violently counterpointed against a celebration of sensual love between two boys. The juxtaposition of the surreal and the naturalistic in the denouement is oddly satisfying and miraculously unsentimental in its endorsement of the ‘abnormal’ relationship.”
—Charles Palliser, Literary Review
“John Wynne is obviously an exciting talent . . . I hope THE SIGHTING finds the audience it deserves.”
—Hubert Selby, Jr.
LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN; REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
“Beautifully done . . . most effective.”
“An impressive achievement . . . I like THE SIGHTING for its strictness, the way it uses facts, its humanity.”
Prix Goncourt for LE JARDIN D’ACCLIMATATION