Rick Whitaker was born in Ohio in 1968 and moved to New York in 1988. He has written reviews for the New York Times Book Review, the New York Observer, and the Washington Post. This is his first novel.
Now the assistant to the general director of the New York City Opera, Whitaker writes honestly about his experiences as a hustler and drug addict. After moving to New York in the late 1980s with a boyfriend, little cash and no contacts, Whitaker earned a degree in philosophy, wrote a novel and went to work in publishing as an editorial assistant to Gordon Lish. By 1997, he had acquired a serious dependency on cocaine and was having "a great deal of sex with strangers, some of it unsafe." In order to support his drug habit, he began working for two escort agencies and, in the next 20 months, conducted business with more than 100 men before giving up his sex work and going into recovery. Relying on a mix of erudition and titillation, Whitaker quotes Leonard Woolf, Wittgenstein, Thoreau, Andrew Marvell and Pascal as he relates the explicit sexual details of his work life. He's at his most astute when analyzing how his parents' highly unstable, overtly sexual relationship and his own complicated love/hate bond with his father set the stage for his hustling. Overall, despite the literary references, Whitaker's relatively modest psychological insights are overwhelmed by the far more compelling pulp narrative of a young man finding salvation on the brink of ruin in the big city. Agent, Malaga Baldi. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.