Franny, the Queen of Provincetown

John Preston, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (102p) ISBN 978-0-312-11792-4
This reissue of Preston's classic gay novel adds a sequel to the events depicted in the 1983 edition. As Preston wrote in an epilogue, ``Franny is the history of the development of the gay community.'' And what a chronicle it is, as the changing attitudes of and toward gays are wittily, often poignantly recorded by drag queen Franny and assorted pals and paramours. As in the original edition, these wry, first-person observations begin in 1950-``people say the word queen and expect you to run away and hide. Well to hell with them,'' declares the eponymous narrator-and conclude in 1983, with Franny older but not wiser. Wisdom has always been Franny's short suit-admonishing a young queen, ``Don't you ever look back. Don't you ever.'' In what is identified as ``a working draft'' for a sequel, ``Franny, Isadora & the Angels,'' the time is 1993, and Franny turns his Provincetown haven into a refuge for those stricken with AIDS. Like the chapters before it, this obviously unfinished material is achingly funny and sad, and chockablock with humanity. Readers of all sexual persuasions will agree that less is once again more in this affecting work, which serves as a bittersweet epitaph for Preston, who died of AIDS in May 1994. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1995
Release date: 03/01/1995
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