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Bram, Christopher (b. 1952)  

Christopher Bram's novels address homosexual issues in a variety of periods and locales.

Born in 1952 in Buffalo, New York, Bram spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Norfolk, Virginia. After graduating in 1974 from the College of William and Mary, he moved to New York, where he still resides.

A prolific novelist, Bram published his first novel, Surprising Myself, in 1987. Like his succeeding books, Surprising Myself deals with gay sexuality in a clearly defined and meticulously depicted milieu: 1970s New York.

His second novel, Hold Tight (1988), is set in Manhattan in the early 1940s and offers a unique perspective on wartime spying and government machinations as filtered through the sensibility of its Midwestern gay protagonist.

In Memory of Angel Clare (1989) centers around gay New Yorkers and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Unlike many AIDS-related gay novels, this book is unsentimental in its presentation of a variety of characters bound by common concerns and yet isolated in their own spheres of guilt and denial.

Two later novels move beyond a New York setting and are more ambitious in political content. Almost History (1992) deals with the Vietnam War and the foreign service, principally in the Philippines. Gossip (1997) is a novel of contemporary Washington, D.C., combining murder, political intrigue, and an examination of gay identity in the context of a media-obsessed society. Both books are typical of Bram's adherence to traditional novelistic plot and character development, at the same time offering new perspectives on social mores from a gay perspective.

As Philip Gambone writes in Something Inside: Conversations with Gay Fiction Writers, "What is most impressive in Bram's fiction is the psychological and emotional accuracy with which he portrays his characters, and the complex moral vision of his stories . . . as well as the craftsmanship, the scope, the humor, and the knack for finding interesting material in the lives of ordinary gay people."

Father of Frankenstein (1995), Bram's best-known work, is a fictional account of movie director James Whale, whose homosexuality compromised his pre-World War II Hollywood career. At once comedic and grim, Father of Frankenstein moves beyond nostalgia in its evocation of 1950s Los Angeles as it examines sexual identity, repression, and the unexpected twists and turns of human relationships. The book was later adapted for the screen as the well-received film Gods and Monsters.

The Notorious Dr. August: His Real Life and Crimes (2000) is a sprawling, 500-page novel set in industrial-age America and fin-de-siècle Europe. Evocative in period detail and ambiance, the novel abounds in characters--both gay and straight--who inhabit a world without clinically labeled sexual identities. With this ambitious book, Bram furthers his reputation as one of society's best contemporary novelists.

Although known primarily for his works of fiction, Bram's critical writing has also appeared in many publications, including the Lambda Book Report, New York Native, Christopher Street, and New York Times Book Review. He has been profiled extensively in gay publications and is a frequent and stimulating speaker at writing conferences and workshops.

David Garnes


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Bates, Mark E. "Christopher Bram." Contemporary Gay American Novelists: A Bio Bibliographical Sourcebook. Emmanuel S. Nelson, ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993. 29-36.

Gambone, Philip. Something Inside: Conversations with Gay Fiction Writers. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999.

Hogan, Christopher J. "Gossiping with Christopher Bram." Gay Community News (July 1, 1997): 20.

Summer, Bob. "Promises Kept: Interview with Author Christopher Bram." Lambda Book Report 4.11 (July-August 1995): 6-7.


    Citation Information
    Author: Garnes, David  
    Entry Title: Bram, Christopher  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated November 30, 2004  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, New England Publishing Associates  


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