Gay Bar: Why We Went Out


Product Details

$28.00  $26.04
Little Brown and Company
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.3 X 1.3 inches | 0.96 pounds

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About the Author

Jeremy Atherton Lin is an Asian-American essayist based in Los Angeles and East Sussex, England. His work has appeared inthe Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, GQ, Artforum and The Yale Review, for which he was shortlisted for a National Magazine Award. Jeremy's debut book Gay Bar was listed in the New York Times Critics' Top Books of 2021 and received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. His next cultural memoir, Deep House, will bepublished in 2024.


"A book of rare dream-like power, an exacting anthropology of queer life. Brainy, audacious, funny, vulnerable, and sexy, Gay Bar is endlessly awake not just to codes and signs but to a culture that's changing faster than most of us are able to see."
--PAUL LISICKY, author of LATER: My Life at the Edge of the World
"Masterful...[Gay Bar] has something for every reader...This superb, multifaceted book takes a close look at gay bars individually and as concept, in history and in the author's life, tackling big questions with wisdom and grace."
"Jeremy Atherton Lin's intimate history of gay culture -- from the 18th century to today -- is electric, immersive, and impossible to look away from. . . . It's an illuminating, sexy, vibrant examination of place and identity."
"[A] diamond of a book; its milky imperfections streak through the text like a hot load shot across a greedy, gorgeous face...Gay Bar elides categories, determined to queer gender and genre alike, smearing even this commonplace with a sweaty, gropey touch...Atherton Lin's thick description of this mélange works the magic of a Proustian madeleine. This is, in part, because he writes the way gay culture looks and feels: he is both evasive and effervescent...But Atherton Lin is after something more: the glam camp of undiluted faggotry. This is writing as drag, and it aims at times to be just as tawdry and exhibitionist."
"I can't remember the last time I've been so happily surprised and enchanted by a book. Gay Bar is an absolute tour de force."--MAGGIE NELSON
"Jeremy Atherton Lin's personal history of queer nightlife is shot with vibrant intellectual adrenaline. With keen original insight, he celebrates the gay bar as a site of ribald, sensuous, and urgent resistance. A must-read for all."--CATHY PARK HONG, author of MINOR FEELINGS
"Lively and dirty, intellectual and gossipy, Gay Bar is the rare book that feels both like a guilty pleasure and like it is making you considerably smarter as you read. A super-exciting debut and an important document of queer lives."--MICHELLE TEA, author of BLACK WAVE and AGAINST MEMOIR
"Utterly blown away. Jeremy Atherton Lin creates something new from a territory that feels so familiar and known. We can never have enough complex, intersectional writing about queer experience, and this is such a welcome, needed addition to the canon."--NIVEN GOVINDEN, author of THIS BRUTAL HOUSE and DIARY OF A FILM
"Gay Bar is searching, erudite, and sexy. With verve and grace, it probes the past, present, and future of queer life while refusing easy binaries. Gay Bar is about pleasure, but deeply serious too. It is wonderful -- one of the best books I have read in ages."--KATHERINE ANGEL, author of UNMASTERED and DADDY ISSUES
"Each page made me yearn for the dance floor and each chapter made me think about our need for queer spaces in new ways. I'm so glad that someone has written the definitive book about gay bars...but specifically, Atherton Lin, who has captured the subversiveness and sexiness that make these places what they are, or, tragically, were."--AMELIA ABRAHAM, author of QUEER INTENTIONS
"Like the hypnotic thumps of good house music, Jeremy Atherton Lin's voice pulses. Painstakingly researched and tenderly written, Gay Bar marks queer bars as sites of resistance and reinvention. I longed for nothing more than to club hop with him, to occupy the spaces between light and shadow, between love and desire, and to consume the night alongside him so that we might emerge wholly new."--ALEX ESPINOZA, author of CRUISING: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime
"Raunchy, tender, and bracingly erudite, Gay Bar is an archaeology, a 4 a.m. afterparty, a disco-and-glitter drenched fever dream. In luxuriant, sublimely evocative prose, Atherton Lin wafts between personal anecdote and political history, exploring the evolution of queer spaces, and how their disappearance is a sign of what we've both gained and lost. Gay Bar is pure pleasure to read: like having an intimate conversation with your funniest, smartest friend."--DAVID ADJMI, author of LOT SIX

"A vibrant and wistful report on a bygone era in gay culture."

--KIRKUS, Starred Review
"Playful, hilarious, arousing, shocking and challenging."
"A beautiful, lyrical memoir...Atherton Lin has a five-octave, Mariah Carey-esque range for discussing gay sex."
"A remarkable debut. . . it's a difficult book to pin down, but that's what makes it so readable and so endlessly fascinating. . . Each observation is sharp and phrased beautifully; Atherton Lin wastes no words, and the ones he chooses are carefully considered. Gay Bar is a book that's beyond impressive, and Atherton Lin's writing is both extremely intelligent and refreshingly unpretentious."
"A beautiful amble through the world of gay bars . . . a rich tapestry of history, theory, and criticism."
"For when you really miss going out... This book will make you miss it even more. Atherton Lin's stylish debut explores the history and cultural resonance of gay bars...It's a wistful exploration of queer life, history, liberation, and identity. And feels especially vital right now when we're all stuck inside."
"A grand, cross-continental adventure. . . . [Atherton Lin's] deep and vivid details bring his memories to life in a way that will make you feel like you are smack dab in the middle of those bars alongside him. His examination of these spaces from all sides will make you think about them in brand new ways."
New York Times Editors' Choice
Vogue's Best Books of 2021
LitHub's Most Anticipated Books of 2021
Cosmopolitan's Best LGBTQI+ Books of 2021
Debutiful's Best Books of February
"The treatment of time in the book -- the way the present is peeled back to reveal the past -- is beautiful, and original. Throughout there is a feeling of simultaneity, of queer lives and histories moving in parallel, of nightlife as a site of pleasure, play and resistance...How movingly he replicates it here, with his wide, strobing intellect, enlivening skepticism, rascally allure."
--Parul Sehgal, NEW YORK TIMES
"Brilliantly written . . . Atherton Lin writes as though he himself is a sign of the times. With gusto and a sense of abandon he describes his own hunger for excitement, with scenes that are gloriously locked in the present moment."
--Colm Tóibín, THE GUARDIAN
"A kinetic bar crawl through space and time and subculture. . . . Gay Bar feels like a love letter, and of the realest sort -- one that expresses devotion through piercing, sustained attention, that takes delight in negotiating."
"A detailed, frank and brilliantly personal account...Already, Gay Bar reads like a cult classic."