A brilliantly savage story, Queer People is, according to Budd Schulberg, “a racy testament to an era as totally vanished as the civilization of the Aztecs,” and if not the Hollywood novel is “at least a truly seminal work.”
Today’s readers will recognize in this long-forgotten Hollywood novel the seeds of three longer-lived ones, The Day of the Locust, What Makes Sammy Run?,and The Last Tycoon. They may also recognize Whitey, the hero of the Grahams’ novel, as a forerunner of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Pat Hobby.
The central figure in the novel is an archetypal newspaper reporter who drifts to Hollywood. Whitey discovers the social microcosm of the studio-people, and finds himself in his element. He penetrates strange places and encounters queer people—the story conference, the three-day party, the titans and the moguls. When a murder ends his interlude he leaves Hollywood as casually as he discovered it.
Originally published in 1930 Queer People was a scandalous roman à clef, irreverent to the “industry,” and totally amoral—qualities lacking in later Hollywood fiction. Hence itis at once an important social document and an exciting original work.