Through the curious life of Dick Kallman—a real-life celebrity striver, poisonously charming actor, and eventual murder victim—the unforgiving worlds of postwar showbiz and down-low gay sexuality are thrown into stark relief in this novel.
A nostalgic new showbiz novel ... Well-researched ... An unqualified success ... Up With the Sun raises the drapes on a weird corner of this past, rousing and rummaging through. We’re left rubbing our eyes.
A non-chronological tour of key moments in the up and down life of an egotistical, superficial and 'aggressively ingratiating' figure ... A hypnotically readable book...both typical and atypical of Mr. Mallon’s other period fictions centered on real people ... Mr. Mallon uses his new lead to bring an era to life with satiric specificity—and he allows his main character enough insight to perceive his own flaws without having the will to fix them ... His prose is imbued with the snark and sentiment of the showbiz world it describes—the legendary theaters, the hits and flops, the camaraderie, envy and ego ... A vivid portrait.
Engrossing ... The tabloid-style death of a forgotten actor strikes one as rather narrow for a novelist of Mallon’s broad capabilities ... But this quibble vanishes as the book commences and we are gulled, immediately, by its keen portrait of New York in 1980, its effortless evocation of period and its nimble description of an encounter between Dick and a pianist named Matt Liannetta on the eve of the actor’s murder ... A pensive, often gorgeous depiction of the contrast — or really, the continuum — between gay life in Manhattan before Stonewall and life on the cusp of the AIDS epidemic ... Up With the Sun’s great triumph is to render its world in not two dimensions but three, to make the lives of a pair of peripheral players not merely operatic but genuinely, shatteringly tragic.