The Spectators

The Spectators

A Novel

Book - 2019
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Talk show host Matthew Miller has made his fame by shining a spotlight on the most unlikely and bizarre secrets of society, exposing them on live television in front of millions of gawking viewers. However, the man behind The Mattie M. Show remains a mystery--not only to his enormous audience, but to those who work alongside him every day. But when the high school students responsible for a mass shooting are found to be devoted fans, Mattie is thrust into the glare of public scrutiny, the wry, detached herald of a culture going downhill and going way too far. Soon, the secrets of Mattie's past as a brilliant young politician in a crime-ridden New York City begin to push their way to the surface. In her most daring and multidimensional novel yet, Jennifer duBois vividly portrays the gay community in New York City, spanning from the heyday of gay liberation in the 70s to the grips of the AIDS crisis in the 80s, alongside a backstage view of 90s television in an age of moral panic. DuBois explores an enigmatic man's downfall through the perspectives of two spectators--Cel, Mattie's skeptical publicist, and Semi, the disillusioned lover from his past. With wit, heart, and crackling intelligence, The Spectators examines the human capacity for reinvention--and forces us ask ourselves what we choose to look at, and why.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780812995886
Characteristics: 336 pages ; 25 cm


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Apr 17, 2019

I picked up this ebook during finals as a means to procrastinate without feeling too shabby about it. Zero expectations. Read somewhere at some point that is had a Hemingway vibe which I kinda remember enjoying (shout out to "The Old Man and the Sea") so I thought this would be short and sweet. I was absolutely mistaken.

The way the story switches time and perspective between chapters makes it engaging, this isn't a fluff read but at the same time it's direct. You have one story at the surface about death and AIDS, the absurd way you can mimic and be misunderstood yet not really care even though there has to have been some sort of caring to want to fit in and mimic, and then before you realize it, the words on the pages are sucking you into an existential questioning of who you are. You ask yourself why there are morals but you don't feel too attacked.

Zero expectations coming in. Mind blow and introspective after. Nice distraction with waaaaaay more depth than I realized.

debwalker Apr 02, 2019

When a school shooting is linked to a controversial TV host.....


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