"Totempole" is Sanford Friedman's radical coming-of-age novel, featuring Stephen Wolfe, a young Jewish boy growing up in New York City and its environs during the Depression and war years. In eight discrete chapters, which trace Stephen's evolution from a two-year-old boy to a twenty-four-year-old man, Friedman describes with psychological acuity and great empathy Stephen's intellectual, moral, and sexual maturation. Taught to abhor his body for the sake of his soul, Stephen finds salvation in the eventual unification of the two, the recognition that body and soul should not be partitioned but treated as one being, one complete man.
""Totempole" is the most audacious affirmation of the homosexual experience by an American writer I have seen, and its success is the more remarkable because nearly all the materials of this novel are not only familiar but fashionable...[Friedman] explores a recognizable terrain and leaves it deeply illumined." --Hilton Kramer, "The New Leader " "It proves to be the most candid, and least pornographic, of studies of the genesis of a homosexual; paradoxically, by close concentration on the agonies of a young man searching for sexual fulfillment...This was a dangerous book to write...Its impact as a document of great honesty will, without doubt, be considerable." --Anthony Burgess, "The Listener" " " "I think "Totempole" an extraordinarily courageous and highly moral work. The author tells us exactly what it was like to be himself at a certain time and place and, uniquely, I believed him. Truth is rare; he seems to have it." --Gore Vidal "An extraordinary book, vivid and utterly convincing...The truth of Mr. Friedman's book is not the truth of autobiography, but the truth-"making "that the best fiction is." --James Dickey "I do not know of any piece of fiction that deals more perceptively with preadolescent sex...Wholly honest...Friedman treats the homosexual theme, as he does the theme of infant sexuality, with great candor and no lubricity...There are episodes developed with unusual imaginative power." --Granville Hicks, "Saturday Review "
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|Publisher||New York Review of Books|
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