Saturday, October 21, 2017

Born Today in 1941: Novelist Robert Ferro

Robert Ferro and his partner, Michael Grumley

Robert Ferro was born today, October 21, in 1941. He was a novelist whose semi-autobiographical fiction explored the uneasy integration of being gay and traditional American upper middle class values.

Ferro published four books: The Others in 1977, The Family of Max Desir in 1983, The Blue Star in 1985, and Second Son in 1988.

Love of family is a theme that appears in both The Family of Max Desir, and Second Son and reflects his traditional Italo-American sentiments. Many elements of Ferro's own life can be found in his novels.

In 1984, Ferro told the Cranford Chronicle that the town in his novel, The Family of Max Desir, was a fictionalized version of his hometown, Cranford, New Jersey. The novel's "Indian River" is meant to be the Rahway River and acts as "the heart of the town and the center of [the main character's] imagination." "Indian Park," host to a revived Victorian water carnival in "Desir," is a fictionalized version of the real-life Nomahegan Park on the Rahway River.

His last book, Second Son, is a romance about two men suffering with AIDS.

Ferro died of AIDS a few months after his partner, Michael Grumley, on July 11, 1988 at 46. Following their deaths, the Ferro-Grumley Foundation, which manages their estate, created and endowed the annual Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT fiction in conjunction with Publishing Triangle.

Click on the image below to learn more about each book.

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