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Writer and critic John Whittier Treat has taught at Yale, Berkeley and Stanford, and is the author of "Writing Ground Zero: Japanese Literature and Atomic Bomb" (Chicago) and "Great Mirrors Shatter: Japan, Orientalism and Homosexuality" (Oxford). Relocating from New York City to Seattle in 1983, he was witness to the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic in the Pacific Northwest. Soon, he became involved with the local recovery community as AIDS affected gay men already struggling with addiction. Treat’s fiction has appeared in literary journals, and his opinion pieces have been published in the New York Times and the Huffington Post. "The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House" is his first novel. Treat is now at work on a second novel, "First Consonants," about a stutterer who saves the world.


“Although life is curious and strange things happen, The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House isn’t a fairy tale. John Whittier Treat has written a dark and honest account about the beginning of the AIDS era. Since all kinds of people experience problems with loneliness, alcoholism, drugs, and terminal disease this provocative book should easily appeal to everyone.”
—Portland Book Review

"A compassionate, engrossing novel of life in the early plague years, depicted here with authentic detail and a true heart. "
--Kirkus Reviews

“Sometimes it’s hard to relive the past, and the best fiction helps guide us through both personal and collective memories. The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House does just this, and leaves us both moved by the struggles of the characters and hopeful about a possible future.”
—Dennis Altman, author of The End of the Homosexual?

"It would be an insult to the artistry and humanity of John Whittier Treat to say that this is a gay novel; it would be an equal insult to claim that it is not. Treat here does for Seattle what Armistead Maupin did for San Francisco, except he is more wistful and has his own voice.  Those of us who lived through the bad old days of the 1980s will easily recall the institutional indifference and bureaucratic bumbling as AIDS began to ravage the gay community.  Those too young to remember it will see the decade come to life as so many gay men succumb to a mysterious death."
—David Desser, emeritus professor of cinema studies, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

“There are elements of magical realism and light here, but there is also an inescapable darkness that makes one wonder how anyone made it out of the 20th Century alive.”
—San Francisco Book Review


Seattle, 1983. Frightened by the growing epidemic that has stricken his friends, Jeff flees New York for the Pacific Northwest, only to realize AIDS has a foothold in his new home. As he distracts himself with alcohol and one-night stands, Jeff meets Henry, an alluring younger man with a weakness for heroin. Despite the jarring contrasts in their personalities and backgrounds, the two are drawn inexorably together. But as their love develops, so do numerous complications. In an effort to halt their freefall into addiction, Jeff and Henry move in with Nan, a middle-aged divorcée who has turned her home into a sanctuary for gay men in crisis. The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House revisits the early years of AIDS in the Northwest with vivid detail, unrelenting honesty, and a profound compassion for a generation lost to the plague.


Selected Works

A history of modern Japanese literature from the nineteenth century to the present.
The first history of Japan's literary and cultural response to the unprecedented use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki
A novel about gay lives in 1980s Seattle
John, a teacher living in Tokyo, encounters AIDS panic in 1980s Japan.

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