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Sarah Schulman's love of New York is evident in The Cosmopolitans, her 10th novel and 17th book. Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at CUNY, her honors and awards include a Guggenheim in Playwriting and a Fulbright in Judaic Studies. A well known literary chronicler of the marginalized and subcultural, Sarah's fiction has focused on queer urban life for thirty years.

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The Cosmopolitans

Sarah Schulman

Greenwich Village, 1958. Earl, a black, gay, actor, and Bette, a white secretary, have been neighbors for thirty years, forming a deep bond as refugees from small-minded hometowns. But when Hortense, a wealthy young actress with links to Bette's painful past, shows up, Earl and Bette's hard-won assumptions are shaken to the core. The Cosmopolitans is a beautifully written, page-turning novel about friendship, love, and revenge set in the disappeared world of 1950s New York.


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"A rich evocation of its time and place... Simultaneously a realist exploration of a particular milieu, an illustration of the changing roles and possibilities for women at that time, and a series of thoughtful musings on the nature of companionship and platonic love, Earl and Bette's story is also a satisfying revenge narrative and a portrait of an unexpected but vital friendship."

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Style and setting allow beauty to intrude on this story of love, loss, and how low one might stoop to right a wrong...It testifies to the elegant construction of the novel that it can balance the hopes of an entire era on the backs of a fragile relationship and leave no doubt as to its resilience. Jarring and beautiful, this is a modern classic."

—Kirkus (starred review)

"The author's subjects and style exist outside of the dominant narratives of US literature and will appeal to readers of contemporary literary fiction looking for something new."

—School Library Journal

"Vivid and moving. Novels about the past that can celebrate it with intelligence rather than nostalgia are rare and are themselves to be celebrated."

—Samuel R. Delany, author of Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders

"A deep, smart, and satisfying novel."

—Rabih Alameddine, author of An Unnecessary Woman

"This novel is book club gold—weighty dilemmas, unforgettable characters, and a roller-coaster plot!"

—Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow

"The psychological insights Schulman shares with artful simplicity will shatter your heart. A masterpiece."

—Michelle Tea, author of How to Grow Up

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