This “tender and lyrical” memoir (New York Times Book Review) remains one of the most compelling documents of the AIDS era - a “searing, shattering, ultimately hope inspiring account of a great love story” (San Francisco Examiner). A National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and the winner of the PEN Center West literary award.
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Greg Leitich Smith lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, author Cynthia Leitich Smith. He is the author of Chronal Engine, as well as three other middle grade novels: Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn, and Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo and its companion book, Tofu and T. Rex. He is also co-author of the picture book Santa Knows. Visit Greg at www.gregleitichsmith.com.Review:
Wrenching in its detail, this account of the author's final two years with his companion and "beloved friend" Roger Horwitz, who died of AIDS in 1986, personalizes the epidemic's appalling statistics with heartbreaking clarity. Poet and novelist Monette (Love Alone: 18 Elegies for Rog) applies admirable candor and control to the task of chronicling the suffering endured in the months between the diagnosis and death of the man with whom he had spent over 10 years. Monette brings to the narrative a poet's eye for the telling image or metaphor, and makes this far more than a simple compendium of medical disasters: the memoir transcends the particulars of the AIDS epidemic to stand as an eloquent testimonial to the power of love and the devastation of loss, the courage of the ill and the anger, fear and dedication of their loved ones. Despite its universal resonances, the book is perhaps most valuable as a vital addition to the literature of the AIDS epidemic. Affluent and exceptionally well connected in the L.A. gay elite, Horwitz was no typical AIDS patient: Monette maneuvered him into various experimental programs (he was the first AIDS patient west of the Mississippi to have access to AZT), and the firsthand glimpse of the "netherworld of the sick," negotiating the byzantine route to the next "magic bullet" offers vivid confirmation of the human cost of the government's initial policy of informed neglect. "A gay man seeks his history in mythic fragments, random as blocks of stone in the ruins covered in Greek characters, gradually being erased in the summer rain," the author writes of a trip to Greece he and Horwitz took shortly before the diagnosis. Monette's moving history is just such a fragment for future generations, a touchstone reference to a tragic time that we cannot allow to be erased.
(Publishers Weekly )
"Why don't you write about this? Nobody else does." These words, from one of the doctors treating Monette's lover Roger Horwitz during his well-fought but losing battle with AIDS, prompted this book. Purged of the tendency toward jeremiad he displayed in Love Alone ( LJ 4/1/88), poems written during the last months of Rog's life, Monette has fused "unresolved rage" with eloquence to produce a gripping, accessible, and essential book. Monette captures the everyday minutiae and roller coaster emotions of living with AIDS, taking us from his first personal exposure to the epidemic via an old friend, through the 19 months between Rog's diagnosis and death. Monette's solipsistic dedication to a community of prosperous, white gay men can be annoying, but the book's strength is that it is always annoyingly, believably real. BOMC alternate.Rob Schmieder, Boston
(Library Journal )
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