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Myra Breckinridge is a satirical novel by Gore Vidal written in the form of a diary. The controversial book is also "the first instance of a novel in which the main character undergoes a clinical sex-change." Set in Hollywood in the s, . Myra Breckinridge book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Determined to reinvent himself and explore new territory in his. Myra Breckinridge/Myron book. Read 81 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. No one remains untouched by the luscious Myra Breckinridge'.
Ostensibly, the book is about a lot of things. It was, in fact, the start of what has been called the Sexual Revolution. Taboos were being destroyed. The general public was becoming more aware, if not more accepting, of issues that no one ever spoke about in good company. Vidal, a bisexual who was not afraid to admit to his bisexuality during a time in which such things were, in some states, actually considered crimes, paved the way for more openly-gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered writers and artists with his depiction of a man named Myron Breckenridge who undergoes a sex change operation to become Myra Breckenridge, a beautiful but conniving seductress bent on destroying social mores and traditional gender roles. It is, however, not much of a plot twist anymore, considering how well-known the book is in contemporary American literature. Yet even to those readers not familiar with the book, reading it for the first time, the twist should not be much of a surprise or a shock.
Bestiality, serious mutilation Sade made Mod and Pop , pedophilia, necrophilia--the mind grows numb--are doubtless in the offing. Can a novel that is indeed about a transvestite--a really serious transvestite, one who undergoes the requisite castration operation in Copenhagen--be really popular?
Probably not. But wait! Suppose nobody knows what it's about? Suppose the book is put on sale without reviews--only news stories about how review copies were withheld and the mystery of it all, how 55, copies are now in print and it's the best selling Vidal novel yet?
In fact, for the downloader, the only information he has had to go on has been the jacket blurb, which reads in full: "A new and very different novel by the author of 'Julian' and 'Washington, D.
Vidal's stated reason for discouraging reviews is somewhat different: "There's a considerable surprise in the plot," he says, and revealing it would spoil the fun. He is right insofar that as it is impossible to discuss the book without giving away the gimmick of the "heroine's" true or original sexual identity. The trouble is, it is my considered opinion that those who are not clued into this by about page five will hate the book; and I see no reason why they should be subjected to it by being misled about its contents.
The book is repulsive enough without this "surprise"--repulsive both in graphic detail and in the exploitive snicker one detects at some real-life hang-ups. It is also my opinion that what is fun in the book, for those who will find it fun, is in no way spoiled by this particular foreknowledge. For "Myra Breckinridge" is a genuinely, brutally witty book, a parody on Hollywood, pop intellectualism, pornography and just about anything else you could name.
Return to Book Page. Preview — Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal. Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal. Determined to reinvent himself and explore new territory in his work, Gore Vidal published a provocative satirical work destined to be on a collision course with social conventions in Written as a diary, Myra Breckinridge, someone determined not to be possessed by any man, recounts her day as she lives it out in the Hollywood of the '60s.
Feminism, transsexuality, an Determined to reinvent himself and explore new territory in his work, Gore Vidal published a provocative satirical work destined to be on a collision course with social conventions in Feminism, transsexuality, and a host of cinematic jokes abound. Get A Copy. Hardcover , 1st Edition , pages.
More Details Original Title. Myra Breckinridge. Hollywood, California United States. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Myra Breckinridge , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Il celebre capitolo Era il giugno del Raquel Welch qui con Roger Herren che impersona Rusty: Mi appoggio alla corrispondente pagina Wikipedia per una sintesi molto sintetica: Il libro racconta la vicenda di Myron Breckinridge il quale, dopo un'operazione di cambiamento di sesso, diventa l'affascinante Myra.
Nel cast del film anche John Huston, primo a sinistra, e Mae West, al centro della foto. Nella scuola di recitazione, Myra diventa insegnante di Portamento ed Empatia!! Imagine having written a book in the s and been criticized over being queer, and then someone reading your book in this day and age and calling you homophobic.
What's the phrase I'm looking for That's it. For the record, Gore Vidal was an intellectual who believed sex was a tool of the weak-minded. He didn't care much for love or physical relationships, and this book, above all else, shows that. To his credit, Gore Vidal hated everyone equally, because everyo Imagine having written a book in the s and been criticized over being queer, and then someone reading your book in this day and age and calling you homophobic.
To his credit, Gore Vidal hated everyone equally, because everyone was dumber than him. At least he thought so. Myra Breckinridge isn't very good but it's not bad, either. It's okay. I'm sure I would've been properly offended if I had read this in the 60s, but reading it in has killed some of its controversy.
The only part that bothered me was the extended page long rape scene. I was uncomfortable throughout, but I'm sure that was Vidal's aim. If you plan on watching the Netflix documentary on Gore Vidal, know that it ruins this book. They discuss in depth the "twist" at the end without mentioning that it's a twist, so I ended up reading this whole book knowing the secret, which was disappointing.
In summation: Gore Vidal is dead.
I'm sure he's not losing sleep over negative reviews. But I think he would find it funny how many people are still outraged over this book, almost fifty years after its publication. I hope one day to write something with that much staying power. Final Judgment: A man who hated everything even himself proves he hates everything. View all 4 comments. Dec 25, A rated it liked it Shelves: I'm a bit baffled by all the people who are offended by the retrograde gender politics of this book.
Is it transphobic? Sure, at times. It's also at times equally misogynistic as it is man-hating, homophobic as it is radically queer, elitist as it is populist, anti-hippie as it is anti-East Coast elite. The contradictions and topics to take offense at are limitless. This is a true satire, lashing out at all who stand in Myra's path including Myra herself. Everyone and everything is so comple I'm a bit baffled by all the people who are offended by the retrograde gender politics of this book.
Everyone and everything is so completely over-the-top and preposterous in this universe, and the plot is so patently ridiculous, I can't imagine you would ever take any of it seriously. I know it's very non-postmodern and anti-New Criticism of me to ask you to consider a book's context when reading it, but I think that's essential here. Yes, to our modern sensibilities, this book is quite clunky, reading like if J. Rowling tried her hand at ghostwriting a Chuck Palahniuk novel.
But think of , when this was a bona fide bestseller back when that meant something about the culture at large , mentioned in the same breath as Updike's Couples and Portnoy's Complaint -- two genuinely misogynistic, unequivocally homophobic, and very very very serious works of art forced into dialogue with this completely inappropriate, absurdly fluffy yet penetratingly belligerent sexual romp.
Jan 07, Fede rated it it was amazing Shelves: Let's face it: In those moments, the dark spell of Bad Taste becomes irresistible and we are able to burst out laughing in a fancy restaurant, catching the attention of as many people as possible, and spout: The nigger pulls down his pants and the wop says Why are we so base? Why do we feel the compulsive need to be so sordid? Because it's liberating.
Because we escape the prison of social convention and we get rid of the daily burden of being absolutely nice and clean and polite and smiling. Because we declare to the world that we aren't racist, antisemitic, homophobic, Ku Klux Klan sympathizers precisely because we're still able to tell a stupid joke and laugh of its our own stupidity. It always works, folks. Trust me.
Written in , this shamefully underrated novel hasn't lost its hilarious, outrageous, scandalous wit. It's the ultimate reaction to the hypocrisy of any 'politically correct' diktat, that farcical form of respect our society cunningly came up with to cover its own sense of guilt. It's the story of Myra, the sexy widow of Myron, who comes to Los Angeles to take possession of his mysteriously deceased husband's inheritance: He finds a perfect match in Myra, ruthlessly determined to rob him of the whole estate.
Myra is hardly an unreliable narrator: She describes the human fauna crawling in the Academy, hopelessly dreaming of a bright future as movie stars and pop singers; she tells the reader about her absolute despise for these youngsters and the American culture of the 60s.
Myra has a more personal mission to accomplish, too: Myra aims to create the new American Male, free from any sense of duty toward the old concept of manhood: Of course she will start this evolutionist project in her own way It's obviously a parody of the cheap psychology of those years, when theories and schools of any sort were proliferating to the point of becoming part of the popular culture of TV shows and illustrated magazines.
Vidal is also deeply concerned about overpopulation and environmental matters that were hardly a priority in the late 60s. Anyway, Buck finds out there's something wrong in Myra's story: Is Myron really dead? Who is this woman come out of the blue to steal his money and destroy his career? When his lawyers are ready to strike, Myra will finally show her true identity How come we didn't figure it out before?! We can't even say she's been lying all the time: As usual, Vidal's satire doesn't spare anybody.
Not your average villain, huh? And yet, his sense of humour is not offensive at all. The American novelist and essayist was a homosexual born in Westpoint Academy, where his father was a flight instructor; he had a successful career both in literature and politics as a Democrat ; he wrote many excellent essays on the political failures of the USA and some incredibly modern novels, such as " Messiah " and " Kalki ", about deranged religion and mass media.
I can hardly imagine how anybody could ever feel offended by the way he ridiculed any prejudice and intolerance hidden behind the thin veil of our hypocritical freedom. Only a bad conscience can't laugh of itself once in a while, a liberating burst of laughter that won't save the world but can't certainly make it worse than it already is. View all 10 comments. David Schaafsma Fun review. I was probably wrong in not liking it then.
May 28, Fede David wrote: It's a matter of taste A short, depraved, outrageous farce that amuses and bemuses. Both funny and unsettling.
Comedy and tragedy collide. Gore Vidal manages to pour scorn on everyone and everything, especially the culture of late 's Southern California and everything that went into making it what it was. The central character, Myra, is a seductive anti-heroine whom we may simultaneously root for and despise. The farce is apparent early when we see Myra as alternately a mouthpiece for Vidal and an object for his sc A short, depraved, outrageous farce that amuses and bemuses. The farce is apparent early when we see Myra as alternately a mouthpiece for Vidal and an object for his scorn The majority of these ideas are presented in such an overblown, excessive manner, and held at times to be plainly ridiculous, but it also seems apparent that there is genuine bitterness being expressed at the heart of the cynically humorous horror-show.
Vidal, through Myra, enacts some terribly sadistic, psychically harmful sex fantasies and has a laugh with it all. But it is also made clear that the author and protagonist are aware of the injustice and terrible consequences of these acts. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Myra Breckinridge is a scabrous genderbender satire about an untouchable woman?
Seen here in the appalling film version with the perfectly cast Raquel Welch. Five stars. Not for the squeamish this one. And largely incoherent, so not for anyone at all, really. Three stars. View all 13 comments. Feb 17, Scott Rhee rated it liked it Shelves: Ostensibly, the book is about a lot of things. It was, in fact, the start of what has been called the Sexual Revolution.
Taboos were being destroyed. The general public was becoming more aware, if not more accepting, of issues that no one ever spoke about in good company. Vidal, a bisexual who was not afraid to admit to his bisexuality during a time in which such things were, in some states, actually considered crimes, paved the way for more openly-gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered writers and artists with his depiction of a man named Myron Breckenridge who undergoes a sex change operation to become Myra Breckenridge, a beautiful but conniving seductress bent on destroying social mores and traditional gender roles.
It is, however, not much of a plot twist anymore, considering how well-known the book is in contemporary American literature. Yet even to those readers not familiar with the book, reading it for the first time, the twist should not be much of a surprise or a shock. Indeed, the twist has ironically been usurped and re-used countless times in movies and TV showsespecially soap operasas to have become laughable.
There is also a disturbing cruelty within the book, culminating in a violent rape scene that almost seems to be played for laughs. Perhaps it is because it is a rape of a big, brawny he-man by a diminutive transsexual: There is, however, nothing ever funny about rape. Up until that scene, the book was a humorousand harmlesssatire.
The scene, unfortunately, taints the remainder of the book. She has been eliminated via rigorous psychotherapeutic sessions and numerous surgeries. He is living happily in a modest upper-middle-class suburban home with his beautiful wife, Mary Ann.
While he is unable to have children, of course, it is a small price to pay for finally getting rid of that evil alter-ego. Stuck in Hollywood and unable to get back to his home in , Myron must make the best of his situation.
Unfortunately, Myra has returned, popping up at the most inopportune times. Myron, of course, catches on to the plan and must do everything in his power to stop her and her polymorphous perversity. We, as a society, have come a long way in terms of our awareness and acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism. Mar 16, Jesse rated it really liked it. I have no idea how this would read to somebody not familiar with classic Hollywood cinema for as it is cheekily reiterated on several occasions: But judging from many of the comments here that's not essential to enjoying the bewildering, campy fun of Vidal's satire, which slyly skewers everything from SoCal culture to East Coast intellectualism to psychology to film to television to pop culture via the supremely self-confident, blithely insular observations of the self-created titular character.
Unfortunately the narrative is such a delicately-balanced confection that it can't sustain itself, and after the truly surreal "conquest" of Rusty I found each chapter less interesting than the succeeding one and I couldn't help but be severely let down by the story's conclusion , but I found myself tittering ridiculously so often in public that I had to finally make the decision to read the novel only in the privacy of my own home I will give you one star because your prose is so delightfully bitchy, Gore Vidal- especially the introduction, told from the point of view of "Gore Vidal"- but no more because this book is bad stupid.
Like, okay, sure, dumb fluff, sixties queerness, obsessing about the movies of the forties because you're a silly two-dimensional cartoon, all that stuff is great. But, just as you get to write about trans women without doing any research and therefore just make stuff up, like 'estrogen impedes h I will give you one star because your prose is so delightfully bitchy, Gore Vidal- especially the introduction, told from the point of view of "Gore Vidal"- but no more because this book is bad stupid.
But, just as you get to write about trans women without doing any research and therefore just make stuff up, like 'estrogen impedes healing' and 'estrogen kills beards' , I get to call you on it. AND the thing with the mind-blowing disclosure that the protagonist is trans? It was boring the first time even though, okay, Myra Breckinridge might actually have been the first time. Also rape isn't funny.
You know what is funny though? I am three songs into it and the new trail of dead album is good. I had given up on those guys, written them off as bar-owning hipsters more interested in navel-gazing and hiring violinists than in actually making the awesome screamy rocknroll they used to when I used to love them, but this record the century of self is- not a return to form, exactly, but at least it is loud and there is yelling. Well look: View all 3 comments. One of the most delicious, camp meditations on American pop culture ever committed to print.
Gore Vidal has written a comedy of bad manners to rival Sheridan and WIlde. Pointedly vulgar, deliriously savvy, this novel knows exactly what it wants to do from its first moments. The first-person narrator announces the death of mataphor early on and then relates the entire lurid saga sticking to those ideological guns.
Hilarious and brilliant and exactly right for the character and the world depicted. What's fascinating to me is that MYRON is actually the more "dazzling" of the two novels, and yet it is the earlier book that gets allt he attention. No matter It it rude? Is it cruel.
You'd better believe it. Is it funny? You will blow soda out your nose if you aren't careful about sip-timing. Vidal's prose, chyaracetrs, and setting have the kind of lunatic precision of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and more than a little of its libertine excesses.
HIghly highly recommended to anyone with a sense of history and a sense of humor. Sep 24, Andy rated it did not like it Recommends it for: Bah, humbug. Everybody loves this book, and all I see is an uptight Cape Cod queen getting jealous after reading " Naked Lunch " and thinking "I can write like that! I'll stick to watching Raquel Welch tramp around in her foxy flag outfit.
View 1 comment. Aug 01, Mark Ramsden rated it it was amazing. Very daring in its day, this satire remains hilarious and thought provoking. Anais Nin, one of Vidal's lovers, was an inspiration for the grandiose voice of Myra while the perverse sophistication is the author's own. While these two books enabled many of us to cast aside our Sky God inhibitions the same prudes and hypocrites remain in charge.
Well, they can't stop us being consensual adults in private or preventing the twenty year fetish club debauch I managed while, er, researching my own books Very daring in its day, this satire remains hilarious and thought provoking. Well, they can't stop us being consensual adults in private or preventing the twenty year fetish club debauch I managed while, er, researching my own books.
Now deader than Cro-Magnon man. And anything else you could think of.
Good to see pretentious French film theory getting a well deserved ribbing but the major pleasure is Myra's acid putdowns and worldly wise sensuality, some of it hot enough for erotica. Gore Vidal covered more ground in more genres than any of the Great American Novel droners. While also succeeding in the theatre, Hollywood, television and as a genuine pre-trash celebrity. Sep 07, Kat rated it really liked it.
Myra Breckinridge is one Sick Twist. I found this book shocking Myra is a trannie, a sadist, a revolutionary and completely nuts.
However, Vidal's title character cannot be classified with most of the one-dimensional psycho transgender characters so common in our cultural production Dressed to Kill, Sleepaway Camp and Silence of the Lambs to name a few.
Myra believes that all human relations are based on "the desire in each of us to exercise absolute power o Myra Breckinridge is one Sick Twist. Myra believes that all human relations are based on "the desire in each of us to exercise absolute power over others.
Gore Vidal's writing is groundbreaking stuff. Beyond the explicit explorations of sex and power, he also slips in passages like the following: Nov 03, Sue rated it it was ok. I remember hearing all of the uproar over this book when I was young but this was the first time that I had read it.
Maybe I would have liked it better years ago but now I just don't see the appeal. I'd always heard that it was a sophisticated, witty novel. All I read was a story that was very antagonistic toward transgenders and here comes a spoiler so if you don't want to know, please stop reading I also can't get over the rape scene. I'm certainly no prude, but the fact that a teacher tortu I remember hearing all of the uproar over this book when I was young but this was the first time that I had read it.
I'm certainly no prude, but the fact that a teacher tortured and raped a student who trusted her just isn't my idea of good literature. Sorry but I can't recommend this book. Dec 31, Robert Zoltan rated it it was amazing Shelves: Two of the greatest satires ever written. Two of my favorite books of all time. I was reading a book by a current best-selling comedic author.
I was in a state of un-grippedness. Read like a book being written in preparation for getting optioned as a movie no style, which is very popular nowadays. I picked up Myra Breckenridge and read the first chapter two pages long. I laughed out loud and was in awe. Vidal is one of the greatest writers ever. One of my personal heroes. Not the second one, that one's not supposed to be any good.