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Spontaneous Combustion


115 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0670838136 / ISBN 13: 9780670838134
Published by Viking Press, New York, 1991
From Main Street Fine Books & Mss, ABAA (Galena, IL, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Small 4to. Black cloth spine and orange paper over boards, pictorial dust jacket. x, 226pp. Fine/fine. Ttight and pristine first edition of this sequel to "Eighty-Sixed" -- "the further adventures of Benjamin J. Rosenthal. A sort of gay Everyman." Nicely signed in full by the author in vivid PINK fineline on the title page -- then signed and inscribed a seconds time in blue fineline on the same page: "11-25-91 / To Mike -- / Best, / DBF." Feinberg (1956-94) was a noted American writer and AIDS activist who succumbed to that disease at age 37. Bookseller Inventory # 35488

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Spontaneous Combustion

Publisher: Viking Press, New York

Publication Date: 1991

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


After testing positive for HIV, B.J. Rosenthal explores his options--from AZT to ACT UP--dealing with his condition with humor and courage, even as friends and former lovers are dying

From Kirkus Reviews:

A disjointed and derivative novel about gay life in Manhattan- -a second attempt by Feinberg (Eighty-Sixed, 1989) to strike sparks from the contemporary tragedy of AIDS. B.J. is already a self-described ``emotional black hole'' when he tests positive for the HIV virus. A bundle of neuroses whose narrative voice is a jittery rehash of every late-night talk-show quip, B.J. is perpetually on the make and is surrounded with others similarly obsessed. The irony of AIDS, of course, makes this a fairly frustrating lifestyle--everyone is talking about sex, but ever fewer are doing it. And so what we get, as the novel lurches from episode to episode, is chapter after chapter of missed connections: Cameron, Richard, Allan, Wendall, Roger. Counterpointing these chatty, time-killing nonhappenings--in which Feinberg recycles waiter jokes and celebrity scandals --are two grim interludes with dying friends Gordon and Seymour. Seymour's death throes are quite affecting, but since we don't meet him until page 112, when he's literally dying, his character is largely irrelevant to B.J.'s story. (In fact, the suspicion arises that until Seymour tested positive, B.J. didn't much think about him or his health.) That's the way it goes for much of the book--potential undermined by slapdash plotting and a near-total inattention to character development. There could have been a novel in this material, but as B.J. puts it: ``In the approaching-the-fin-de- siŠcle manner, one uses a less exacting set of criteria in selecting possible dates. In other words, we've lowered our standards.'' This may be true for dating, but not for writing. Not for the mainstream, but not, either, destined to break any ground in the gay fiction market, although it may help pass the time on the airplane or the train. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Main Street Fine Books & Manuscripts has been buying and selling quality books, autographs and ephemera since 1991. We specialize in general antiquarian, first editions, signed books and autographs and documents. We are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers Association (MWABA), Universal Autograph Collectors Club (UACC) and The Manuscript Society.

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