cover image The Future Was Color

The Future Was Color

Patrick Nathan. Counterpoint, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-1-64009-624-0

The titillating latest from Nathan (Some Hell) portrays the life of a gay Hungarian Jew in Hollywood. In 1956, George Curtis is drawn to fellow screenwriter Jack Turner, the sight of whose body stings George “like the opulence of the homes in Beverly Hills.” After George and Jack visit actor Madeline Morrison in Malibu, Jack tempts George into acting on his attraction, sparking a romance that offers both men the promise of happiness. From there, Nathan flashes back to 17-year-old George’s arrival in 1944 New York City as György Kertész. The young refugee cruises for sex in public toilets at a time when men were entrapped and arrested for doing so, and eventually becomes involved in a bittersweet affair that prompts him to reinvent himself and move to California. Back in 1956, George, Jack, and Madeline attend a debauched party in Las Vegas that turns dangerous after many partygoers take copious amounts of LSD. Nathan nimbly interweaves the period’s zeitgeist into the narrative, including the Budapest Revolution and the fear of the nuclear bomb. The hopscotch structure dilutes some of the emotional impact, though each episode captivates, including a finale set in 1960s Paris. This portrait of an artist in the making dazzles. (June)