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literature

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Indiana, Gary (b. 1950)  
 
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The American Crime Trilogy

In 1997, Indiana published Resentment: A Comedy, the first in a series of three books based on real-life crimes that has become known as the American Crime Trilogy. This critically acclaimed novel is a heavily fictionalized retelling of the notorious trial of Lyle and Erik Menendez, two brothers of privileged background convicted of brutally murdering their parents.

Told primarily through the voice of Seth, a disillusioned gay freelance writer in Los Angeles on assignment, the novel frequently and kaleidoscopically fragments its viewpoint among some dozen different characters, offering a satiric and savagely astute attack on the media, the U.S. justice system, and the manners and mores of Southern California.

Sponsor Message.

In an interview, Indiana explained his objectives for the novel: "The intention of the book was not to make some statement about actual famous persons, but to interpret the kinds of roles that certain people play in this media configuration and how they affect things. . . . I didn't feel in many cases that I was writing about actual people. I felt I was writing about images. . . . My mental position while writing the book was that I was translating a lot of images that were coming through the television, magazines and newspapers."

Two years later Indiana published Three Month Fever: The Andrew Cunanan Story (1999), a "nonfiction novel" concerning the three-month, cross-country killing spree in 1997 by a young gay man, which culminated in the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace.

In his book, Indiana considers Cunanan from the outside, through FBI and local police reports and interviews with the young man's childhood friends and adult gay acquaintances, but he also contemplates Cunanan from the inside through fictional reconstructions of dreams, journal entries, and sexual fantasies.

This skillful fusion of well-researched reportage, caustic social commentary, and creative invention, exhibits, as Alexander McCartney observed in the Lambda Book Report, "a refreshing skepticism as to the validity of traditional journalistic technique when writing about a case as complex as Cunanan's."

Indiana's final installment of his trilogy is Depraved Indifference (2002), a story based in part on the mother-and-son team of con artists and convicted murderers, Sante and Kenneth Kimes (here known as Evangeline and Devin Slote).

The Library Journal noted that this "acidly satiric" novel "sets its sights on exposing both the 'depraved indifference' of the Slotes and the larger society that breeds and abets them."

In an interview, Indiana commented that "the corruption of money, the obscenity of money" is the thematic concept that links the narratives of his trilogy. "All three of these stories are deeply engaged in a discourse about money," the writer explained. "Who should have it, who shouldn't, what the right way to get it is, what's the wrong way."

Other Works by Gary Indiana

Indiana's most recent novel, Do Everything in the Dark (2003), follows a group of middle-aged, Manhattan-based artists and friends, both gay and straight, during the summer of 2001 as they confront their aging bodies, personal disappointments, and failed professional ambitions.

Told in a series of intense, short chapters, the novel is, as Michael Cornelius observed in the Lambda Book Report, "perhaps [Indiana's] darkest and bleakest human portrait to date," although a reviewer for Publishers Weekly also found the novel "surprisingly compassionate and attuned to the inner lives of its characters."

In 2005, Indiana published The Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt, an account of the former bodybuilding champion and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger's election to the governorship of California and an investigation into its broader cultural and social implications.

Indiana is also the author of the British Film Institute's guide to Pier Paolo Pasolini's 1975 film Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom (2000), and has edited an anthology of writings on animals, Living with the Animals (1994).

He currently divides his time between New York and Los Angeles.

Craig Kaczorowski

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    Bibliography
   

Bahr, David. "Irreconcilable Indifference: Gary Indiana Talks about Taking His Cues from True Crime in Writing His Mordant New Novel, Depraved Indifference." The Advocate (February 19, 2002): 66.

Bing, Jonathan. "Gary Indiana: It's a Rancorous Life." Publishers Weekly (July 7, 1997): 42-43.

Canning, Richard. Hear Us Out: Conversations with Gay Novelists. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Cornelius, Michael G. "Dark Writing." Lambda Book Report (May 2004): 38.

Hogan, Ron. "The Beatrice Interview: Gary Indiana." Beatrice.com (1997): http://www.beatrice.com/interviews/indiana/

McCartney, Alistair. "Three Month Fever: The Andrew Cunanan Story." Lambda Book Report (June 1999): 21.

Moore, Marshall. "Depraved Indifference: A Leona Helmsley from Hell." Lambda Book Report (February 2002): 23.

Press, Joy. "The Laws of Depravity: Gary Indiana Talks About Crime, Career, and the Culture of Indifference." The Village Voice (February 5, 2002): 63.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Kaczorowski, Craig  
    Entry Title: Indiana, Gary  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2008  
    Date Last Updated May 9, 2008  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/indiana_g.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2008 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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