A dual biography of Noel Coward and Cole Porter includes interviews with still-living friends, lovers, and colleagues, their lives among the rich and famous, and a study of how their sexuality shaped their careers and forced them to hide their true identities. 35,000 first printing. $35,000 ad/promo.
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This breezy dual biography of two of this century's most gifted theater artists will disappoint those hoping for 261 pages of tabloid-style muck-wallowing. Despite an overheated introduction that discusses, a bit shamelessly, Porter's and Coward's sexual habits (Coward liked "urbane young men," Porter preferred rougher trade), the book provides a remarkably open, mature, gay-positive reading of their lives that redeems what is otherwise just another recitation of two well-known careers. How wonderful to see Noel and Cole discussed as full, living, desiring human beings and not as immensely clever but essentially sexless creatures. Still, Morella and Mazzei skimp Porter, spilling so much ink about Coward that you might forget the book isn't exclusively about the Brit with the "talent to amuse," and they could have used better editing, for although much of the prose has the absorbing, breathless quality of good journalism, certain sections of the book are repetitious and overwritten. Jack Helbig
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