"Dancer from the Dance" was written by Andrew Holleran and published in 1978. Holleran's first novel was received well by readers and critics who laud it as one of the most important works of gay literature. Holleran brings authenticity to his novel and characters by placing them in true to life places that readers familiar with the lifestyle of his main characters identify with and through which everyone else lives vicariously.
The bulk of "Dancer from the Dance" takes place in New York City, with much of the action staged in the infamous nightclubs and disco scenes of the 1970s. In addition, Fire Island also plays a key role in the events that play out in the novel, taking readers on a journey through the raunchy homosexual lifestyle that the real-world destination has become infamous for. The author routinely mixes reality and fiction, such as when he places his characters at the scene of the deadly fire at Everard Baths in 1977.
There are two central characters in "Dancer from the Dance": Anthony Malone, who, at the beginning of the story, left his "square" life as a straight and narrow lawyer for a quest to find true love in the gay nightclub scene of New York City; and Andrew Sutherland, a New York City socialite and habitual drug user who revels in night after night of dancing and drinking in gay bars.
Malone is a beautiful man looking for true love and Andrew thinks that he can help. In fact, through all of the sexual exploration that fills the nightclubs and parties the two men spend time at, Andrew hopes to marry Malone off to a young millionaire. Most of the time, Andrew seems to be motivated by the thrill of the moment, while Malone continues to search for an elusive relationship of substance.
Toward the end of the novel, things take a turn for the worse for Malone and Andrew. Everard Bath, both a historical New York City venue and a place where many parties and sexual exploits take place in the novel, becomes the site of a horrible fire that claims many lives. Andrew Sutherland has a drug overdose and Malone disappears from the scene. "Dancer from the Dance" doesn't strive to tie everything together with a fairy tale ending, and maintains a bittersweet outlook on life and love.