Prologue, Chapter 1
• "The Beautiful Room is Empty" is the story of a young gay man's coming-of-age in 1950s and 1960s America.
• The narrator attends Eton prep school and spends much time at the art academy across the street.
• The narrator spends time with the artists including Ivan and Paul and comments on the emotional, spiritual and intellectual independence of the art students, so different from his conservative Midwest upbringing.
• The narrator hints at his emerging homosexuality and the growing sense that he is an outsider to his life and family and that he is desperate for any kind of approval.
• The narrator has an intense friendship with a girl named Maria, another art student, whose passionate socialism is a powerful trigger for his desire to connect on a more honest level with other human beings.
• Maria enjoys the narrator's Midwestern innocence and introduces him to wider perspectives on...
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