Edmund White, the novelist, critic and memoirist who has been called a literary giant of the gay world, will speak about his new novel, “Our Young Man,” at 6 p.m. on May 16 at Books & Books @ the Studios, 533 Eaton St.

“Our Young Man” tells the story of Guy, a handsome French man who becomes a top fashion model in New York City just as AIDS is beginning its deadly assault on the exuberant gay tribes of Greenwich Village and Fire Island. Although Guy is terrified of the disease, he is inexorably drawn to the thrill and romance of being the gay community’s darling.

Kirkus Reviews praised “Our Young Man” as “a playful yet searching novel of gay life in the New York of Ed Koch and Studio 54… [It] captures a time of whispers,elaborate codes, and not inconsiderable danger.”
White is the author of many other novels, including “A Boy’s Own Story” and “The Beautiful Room Is Empty.” He got an inside look at the world of fashion during his 10 years working at Vogue magazine. He now teaches at Princeton University.
In his memoir, “City Boy,” White remembered living in New York in the 1970s, when the city was grungy, dangerous and bankrupt. But for a young gay man, it was also “the only free port on the entire continent.” Only in New York, White wrote, “could we could walk hand in hand with a member of the same sex.”