Bobby Quinn has been haunted by two enigmatic people for most of his adult life: Ben Morrissey, a sexy Don Juan who becomes a famous photographer in late 1990s Manhattan, and Monika Lilac, a beautiful cinephile femme fatale who is consumed by her love for silent-era films. This is a story about romantic obsession and cinematic obsessiveness, and a portrait of young people falling in love and trying to make their mark before the party is over.
“That Was Something—a profound, delicate, emotionally involving novel—gripped my attention by accurately evoking certain lost moments in queer urban life. I admire the book’s taut structure and tenderly direct diction: The Great Gatsby on poppers. In high-contrast, horny chiaroscuro, without clutter, Callahan documents the chemical reaction that occurs when gayness and bi-curiosity greet each other in the dark room.” —Wayne Koestenbaum, author of The Queen’s Throat and Jackie Under My Skin
“Known for his superb books about the art of acting, Dan Callahan brings all his piercing insight to the tale of Robert, who yearns for photographer Ben Morrissey, who in turn has a yen for Monika Lilac—sometime blogger, silent-film devotee, and mistress of self-dramatization. That Was Something itself takes on the wild comedy and vivid emotions of a silent movie, as the characters swirl through the bars and parties and screening rooms of Manhattan 20 years ago, a world of artists and others obsessed with ‘the important things: Love, Death, Love again.’” —Farran Smith Nehme, author of Missing Reels
Dan Callahan is the author of three books. This is his first novel.