John Whittier Treat lives in Seattle. He has published short stories in Jonathan and the QDA: Queer Disability Anthology, and has work included in the recent anthology of Washington State poets, Washington 129 (Sage Hill Press, 2017). In 2015 Big Table Publishing issued his novel, The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House, about the early years of the HIV epidemic in the Pacific Northwest. It was a finalist for the 2016 Lambda Literary Foundation Prize for Best Gay Fiction. His opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and Out magazine. His latest book is The Rise and Fall of Modern Japanese Literature (University of Chicago Press, 2018). His new novel, First Consonants, is the story of a stutterer who saves the world. It will be published by Jaded Ibis Press n 2022. www.johnwhittiertreat.com.
The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House
In 1983 twenty-nine year-old JEFF leaves New York for a new start in Seattle. There he meets HENRY, a twenty year-old heroin addict; and NAN, an older divorced woman looking to fill the new emptiness in her life.
Jeff and Henry fall in love despite their problems with drug, alcohol and a fear of AIDS as the epidemic slowly arrives in the Pacific Northwest. Nan buys a large house –“The Yellow House”-- on Capitol Hill, Seattle’s gay neighborhood and starts to host AA and other twelve-step groups for gay men. Jeff and Henry move into Nan’s Yellow House to help, but tensions erupt when Jeff’s anxieties about Henry, addiction, and his health drive him back to New York for a visit. For days Jeff roams Manhattan aimlessly, not sure why he left Seattle; meanwhile, in the Yellow House Henry is found dead from a gunshot wound with an empty syringe near his body. It might have been murder or suicide— no one will ever know. But when Jeff learns of Henry’s death in New York, he sets out for a reconciliation with his dead lover that will happen either in his demented mind, or just possibly in reality.
Awards and Recognition
- Christopher Hewitt Prize for Fiction