If you mostly know Matthew Gallaway from his writing on the web -- gay reworkings of The New York Times' 'Modern Love' columns, short photo stories starring his two cats, a video series about an existential detective'the sheer thematic sweep and structural intelligence of his debut novel, The Metropolis Case (Crown), might be surprising. And surprising to Gallaway was the novel's reception. 'I didn't expect to be embraced by big media,' he says, pointing both to the challenge of a narrow, crowded market for literary fiction and the 'uphill battle' facing gay writers writing about gay characters. Instead, Gallaway earned raves from outlets like The Washington Post and the Times for his time-bending tale of four opera lovers bound together by Tristan and Isolde and an eternally handsome young tenor. Martin, the novel's gay protagonist, is written with particular frankness, despite the risk of alienating certain readers. Gallaway says he tried to write a straight first draft of his next novel -- a 'half-tragic, half-comic' look at the cubicle farms of the late 1990s -- mostly to see if he could pen a book without any gay content. His partner's review? 'He said it was terrible,' laughs Gallaway. He's since put the gay characters back in.
Matthew's Hot List
1. 'Royal Shakespeare Company at Lincoln Center.
Nobody does drama like Shakespeare, and nobody does Shakespeare like the Royal Shakespeare Company.'
2. 'The film release of Stephen Sondheim's Company as performed on Broadway, starring Neil Patrick Harris and Patti LuPone.'
3. 'New seasons of Torchwood and True Blood.Two of the gayest shows on television are, not coincidentally, two of the best.'
4. 'The Last of the Live Nude Girls: A Memoir by Sheila McClear (former stripper, Gawker editor, and current New York Post fashion reporter). Sheila McClear is a reminder that kids can still arrive in New York City from Nowheresville and break in with some serious grit, hard work, and talent.'
5. 'Twin Shadow live at SummerStage in Central Park. Twin Shadow is the first act I've heard in a long time to pick up exactly where the Smiths left off while still managing to sound 100% fresh and contemporary.'
To see the full 2011 Hot List, click here.