Palette Magazine

In Tune: Paul Lisicky’s The Narrow Door

By Gregg Shapiro

As with Freeheld, cancer and relationships are at the center of gay writer Paul Lisicky’s new memoir The Narrow Door (Graywolf Press, 2016). Lisicky, whose acclaimed first novel Lawnboy was set in South Florida, has written a book about writers — some more successful and well-known than others. He relates his encounters with loss, in gut-wrenching detail. His close friend, the novelist Denise Gess, is ravaged by cancer just as Lisicky is confronted with the end of his relationship with longtime partner, a poet and memoirist identified simply as M. Interwoven in the memoir’s fabric are Lisicky’s observations on Joni Mitchell’s career (he’s a fan!), as well as the way a series of global crises (both natural and man-made) become part of his very personal experience.


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