• The Hub

    News, Notes, Talk

    I can’t wait to listen to all 600 minutes of Harvey Fierstein’s memoir.

    Dan Sheehan

    August 12, 2021, 2:03pm

    There are iconic voices and then there are iconic voices. Think of James Earl Jones’ rumbling grandeur. Sam Elliott’s laid-back Western drawl. Anthony Hopkins’ soothing-but-sinister enunciation. Lauren Bacall’s breathy bass—marvelous, mellifluous voices all.

    For my money, however, the greatest voice ever committed to celluloid, the greatest voice ever to command a Broadway audience, is that of four-time Tony Award wining actor and playwright, gay rights activist, and all-round cultural icon, Harvey Fierstein.

    Fierstein—whose signature gravelly voice is a result of an overdeveloped vestibular fold in his vocal cords, essentially giving him a “double voice” when he speaks—won two Tony Awards, Best Actor in a Play and Best Play, for his Torch Song Trilogy back in the early 80s, and has been Broadway royalty pretty much ever since. If, however, you’re not a musical theater fan, you may remember him from CheersMrs. Doubtfire, Independence Day, Mulan, or Bojack Horseman.

    Anyway, I mention all of this because Knopf today announced that Harvey’s memoir, I Was Better Last Night, will be released next spring.

    According to publisher’s description:

    I Was Better Last Night bares the inner life of this eccentric nonconforming child from his roots in 1952 Brooklyn, to the experimental worlds of Andy Warhol and the Theatre of the Ridiculous, to the gay rights movements of the seventies and the tumultuous AIDS crisis of the eighties, through decades of addiction, despair, and ultimate triumph.

    “I have completely outlived every fantasy I ever had about what my life could be,” Fierstein told EW in a statement. “I’ve also crashed and burned more times than most would think survivable. Oh, well. At least I didn’t sit life out on the sidelines. I never thought I’d spill my guts but, when COVID locked me in with my computer, I figured I’d amuse myself and give this a try. Well, here is the outrageous, juicy, scary, and mostly true result of my efforts. Actors and writers use their talents to hide who they really are. With this memoir I guess I am saying farewell to all of that. This is me.”

    My one and only question after reading this (extremely welcome) news—a question which I felt should have been definitely answered in any and all press coverage—was the following: will Harvey be narrating the audiobook himself?

    Of course he will. How could he not?

    Yes, I can now confirm that, come March 22nd, you, me, and the rest of the world’s legion of Fierstans will be able to enjoy ten whole hours of audiobook narration from the man whose voice was once compared to that of “a deep-throated jazz diva who has just tossed back a double-bourbon.”

    Start planning your springtime road tips now.

  • Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

    For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.

    %d bloggers like this: