“The Gallery” by John Horne Burns
The New York Times recently deemed him “The Great (Gay) Novelist You’ve Never Heard Of.” John Horne Burns wrote three novels in his short life, the most popular being The Gallery, which he wrote while serving in the US Army during WWII. Set in occupied Naples in 1944, the novel takes its name from the Galleria Umberto, a bombed-out arcade where everybody in town comes together in pursuit of food, drink, sex, and general debauchery. The Gallery is one of the first novels to look directly at gay life in the military, and the mixed feelings of the men and women who fought the war that ultimately made America the superpower it is today.
(If you want to learn more about John Horne Burns, you might also check out David Margolick’s new biography, Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horn Burns, that was published earlier this month.)