`Death in Venice' Tops Best Gay Novels List Publishing Triangle Compiles Greatest Ever

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NEW YORK -- Contributing yet another end-of-the-century list, an organization of gays in publishing has compiled the 100 greatest gay novels of all time, with Thomas Mann's Death in Venice coming in atNo. 1.

The novella about a writer's infatuation with a teenage boy was followed by James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, the story of an expatriate's struggle with his sexual identity, and Our Lady of the Flowers, Jean Genet's fantasy about a male prostitute in the Parisian underworld.

Two classic French novels finished fourth and fifth: Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past and Andre Gide's The Immoralist.

The list was compiled by Publishing Triangle, which consists of more than 250 gay and lesbian writers, editors, agents and publishers.

The criteria for what constitutes a "gay novel" were hazy. Titles apparently could make the list if the author was gay, if the book had gay subject matter, or the text was simply open to gay interpretation.

As a result, the judges disagreed, for instance, over the inclusion of Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

"Each of these books contributes to the understanding of the outsider mentality," said one of the judges, novelist Dorothy Allison, whose own Bastard Out of Carolina made the list. …