The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2016
A modern retelling of Balzac's classic Cousin Bette by one of America's most prolific and significant writers. Earl, a black, gay actor working in a meatpacking plant, and Bette, a white secretary, have lived next door to each other in the same Greenwich Village apartment building for thirty years. Shamed and disowned by their families, both found refuge in New York and in their domestic routine. Everything changes when Hortense, a wealthy young actress from Ohio, comes to the city to "make it." Textured with the grit and gloss of midcentury Manhattan, The Cosmopolitans is a lush, inviting read. The truths it frames about the human need for love and recognition remain long after the book is closed. Sarah Schulman, a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, nonfiction writer, professor, and journalist, has published seventeen books. Her awards include a Guggenheim, Fulbright in Judaic Studies, two American Library Association Book Awards (fiction and nonfiction), and the Kessler Prize for Sustained Contribution to LGBT Studies. She is distinguished professor of the humanities at CUNY, a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, on the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace and faculty advisor to Students for Justice in Palestine.