Arnie Kantrowitz, who wrote the finest memoir of the early gay liberation movement, Under the Rainbow, has given us in Song of Myself a thoroughly delightful picaresque novel. He presents us with Daniel Dell Blake, a gay boy raised in an apple orchard, who travels to New York City to hobnob with the bohemian elite, lands in a Japanese prison camp during World War II, marries, separates, briefly attends college as a kept boy, works cleaning up in a bordello, is sent to prison on sodomy charges, assists an antiques dealer---episode after episode in classic picaresque style, including à la Tom Jones, the possibility of incest. In so doing the innocent becomes a rascal who never loses his moral or aesthetic sense. On the way we meet dozens of fascinating characters---Chester, the sculptor; Willard, the professor; Edwin, the antiques dealer; Gordon, the doctor; Louie, the hairdresser and prison mate---in travels that take us coast to coast and from the 1930s through the 1990s. Beautifully counterpointed against this tale is Dell's obsession with Walt Whitman, which brilliantly informs the action. Song of Myself could well have been granted another Whitman title, "Song of the Open Road," because of its openness of spirit and of form.

-David Bergman, Professor Emeritus, Towson University, author of The Violet Hour: The Violet Quill and the Making of Gay Culture.