writing : books
Neil Bartlett has grabbed history by the collar and made bitter love to it – Edmund White.
Who Was That Man?, Bartlett’s first book, published in 1988, was a ground- and genre-breaking re-appraisal of one of his heroes ,Oscar Wilde. Part history, part polemic, part fantasia, it refracted the erotics and politics of nineteenth century London’s gay culture – high and low – through a highly personal meditation on Wilde’s contemporary significance. His five novels Ready To Catch Him Should He Fall, Mr Clive and Mr. Page, Skin Lane The Disappearance Boy and Address Book have since continued this project of using obsessively re-imagined “historic” voices and worlds as the mouthpieces and settings of an impassioned and radical vision. Alternatively lyrical and confrontational, characteristically disquieting, they combine a highly-charged tenderness with an often dark eroticism.
“A passionate attempt to fix what is essential in Oscar Wilde, fraud and martyr”– Adam Mars-Jones
“..this fantastic personal meditation on Oscar Wilde and the last hundred years of English homosexuality… Bartlett has embraced what was alien and criminal or merely clinical and loved it into poignant life.” – Edmund White
First published by Serpents Tail in 1998; republished by Penguin 1993.
“Tender, brutal, explicit,erotic and moving…a fictional debut of staggering assurance and ability”- Gay Times
“Profoundly moving and enriching. Bartlett has achieved what is almost impossible; he has written a novel about happy, successful love.” – The Glasgow Herald
First published by Serpents Tail, 1990.
Translations; Dutch, 1991 ( Uitgevrij L.J.Veen B.V., Amsterdam) German, 1992, ( Forum Verlag, Leipzig) ,Italian, 1997 (Zoemedia s.r.l., Forli), French , 1999 ( Actes Sud), Spanish, 2003 ( Egales, Barcelona)
Republished by Profile as a Serpent’s Tail Classic in 2017, with a new introduction by the author.
“A marvellous evocation of 1920’s London..Compassionate, gentle, violent dynamic and a glorious page-turner”- Ruth Rendell
“Harrowingly, weirdly sexy; compulsively readable” -Edmund White
First published by Serpents Tail, 1996.
Published in US by Dutton, 1997, as THE HOUSE ON BROOKE STREET
Translations; German, 1999 ( btb Taschenbucher, Munich)French, 2000 ( Actes Sud),Spanish, 2001 ( www.muchnik.com )
“Skin Lane is a fiendishly taut little psycho-shocker that recalls Simenon at his most hardboiled and Highsmith at her creepiest. It made the hairs rise on the back of my neck and I still can’t get them down again. ” Will Self.
“I read Skin Lane with one eye closed out of sheer animal terror. Then, unimagineably, it brought me to tears. What a work of art – so unexpected and heartbreaking and lovely ” Armitstead Maupin
Published March 2007 by Serpents Tail.
Shortlisted for Costa Novel Award 2008
Translations; as Rue de la Peau, by Actes Sud, France, 2008
Published August 2014 by Bloomsbury. Bartlett’s fourth novel – a strange and tender story of queer courage set in the tatty backstage world of a 1950’s Variety theatre – earnt him a nomination as Stonewall Author of the Year alongside Sarah Waters and Armistead Maupin.
“Neil Bartlett can conjure up a world like no-one else. This time, it’s the lost world of 1950s seaside variety, and within that world he spins a tale of unlikely self-discovery that is by turns mysterious, tender and utterly compelling” – S. J. Watson
“Neil Bartlett’s ability to vividly evoke hidden lives is uncanny” – Jake Arnott
“This book and its enchanting characters had me under their spell. I was bewitched” – Sheila Hancock
“One of England’s finest writers” – Edmund White
– See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-disappearance-boy-9781408850442/#sthash.BB3sR7qv.dpuf
In 2021, London-based Inkandescent published Neil’s fifth novel ADDRESS BOOK. A sequence of seven inter-linked first-person narratives takes the reader behind seen very different front doors and then invites them to bear witness to seven very different lives. Exploring love, lust and courage across almost a century and a half of social change, ADDRESS BOOK continues Bartlett’s passionate and highly personal project of re-imagining queer history and what it means to us all.
“Bartlett is a pioneer on and off the page, and we are lucky to have him telling our stories” Damian Barr
“Address Book is people with lovers, battlers, adventurers and optimists. Neil Bartlett is a peerless chronicler of queer lives past and present. ” Niven Govinden.
” A wise, elegant and sexy book, huge-hearted and beautiful” Sarah Waters.
“Gay love and desire, past and present, have never been so beautifully articulated as in Address Book. He takes us into the homes and minds of a handful of strangers and then – in prose full of gentle foreboding – slowly peels away the layers until their truths are revealed. Defiant, potent – and ultimately uplifting.” Julian Clary
For a full bibliography, please visit Neil’s bibliography page.