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Afterlife A riveting story of a group of men who are bereaved and having to deal with life after loss This is so beautifully told and the book opens with us meeting the group of men whose partners all died from aids in the same ward.Steven is the man who has kept them all together in their grief, with regular meals and get togethers, but now he needs to find space for himself to deal with his own grief and anger Dell is still dealing with his loss which has taken root in him and formed a deep hatred of A riveting story of a group of men who are bereaved and having to deal with life after loss This is so beautifully told and the book opens with us meeting the group of men whose partners all died from aids in the same ward.Steven is the man who has kept them all together in their grief, with regular meals and get togethers, but now he needs to find space for himself to deal with his own grief and anger Dell is still dealing with his loss which has taken root in him and formed a deep hatred of a society that ignores the Aids crisis and the loss of so many He finds satisfaction and a cause as an urban guerilla.And Sonny who is a greek beauty continues to live in denial seeking both base and deeper things of the heart After so many meaningless men he has found and both lost his one great love but he is beautiful and seeks a greater destiny which goes back to the ancient past that he believes he is part of.Together the three men meet other people and circumstances, the pain of their loss never fully healing, but always pushing them forward into new things, new frontiers and realisation.I loved this story It is multi dimensional with so much going on with the characters, but not so much that the reader is lost The story deals with the survivors or those who are not dead yet, and provides a realistic glimpse of life after loss We see grief, healing and anger, and the desire to seek new life even in the face of certain death.The relationships in the story felt so realistic, difficult at times but honest with the characters each dealing or failing to deal with their personal losses The book is also about family and friendship, and how people in pain can come together and almost unwittingly provide support and love for each other, allowing each other the freedom to be, but being there for them when in need The best part of the story for me was the dinner party scene at the end It made me think that people can give the deepest love and compassion by doing the simplest of things.Paul Monette had a way of writing that just embeds the story into the reader s soul, spirit and body This story with its emotions and friendships and love and turbulence is one that will always stay with me I enjoyed Monette s memoir, Becoming a Man, and this one appeared on a lot of classic queer lit lists, though I found it disappointing It feels like writing not authentic or particularly natural although there was enough to keep me interested There are a ton of useless adverbs in this writing I think at one point someone notices insignificantly The dark matter of the book the plague itself feelslike a plot device than an affliction to be mulled over, even in the final chapter I enjoyed Monette s memoir, Becoming a Man, and this one appeared on a lot of classic queer lit lists, though I found it disappointing It feels like writing not authentic or particularly natural although there was enough to keep me interested There are a ton of useless adverbs in this writing I think at one point someone notices insignificantly The dark matter of the book the plague itself feelslike a plot device than an affliction to be mulled over, even in the final chapters The three main characters share the trauma of having lost partners and knowing they are destined to follow, and yet these losses feel like distant and half forgotten parts of their lives The sentiment that enters the book toward the end feels right, but the way the story builds islike a romantic comedy than a thoughtful meditation The bio included in the version I have states that Monette wrote several film novelizations on top of his other works Not surprising Still, I m looking forward to reading his other memoir, Borrowed Time He s a better reporter than he is a fiction writer Will anyone understand what it was like No But you can try And this story reminds us and helps us to understand and to imagine how it was likeYou can t die, okay Not for years and years I won t go through it again Mark gave him back the steadiest look, his gray eyes clenched in a kind of amazement, about to go over a cliff It s a deal, he said in a husky whisper his ancient bond, worth millions in the days of Bungalow 19 How many years goaded Steven, never satisfied How many doWill anyone understand what it was like No But you can try And this story reminds us and helps us to understand and to imagine how it was likeYou can t die, okay Not for years and years I won t go through it again Mark gave him back the steadiest look, his gray eyes clenched in a kind of amazement, about to go over a cliff It s a deal, he said in a husky whisper his ancient bond, worth millions in the days of Bungalow 19 How many years goaded Steven, never satisfied How many do you need Eight no, ten Shooting the moon Deal It is the story of three widowers Each of the three lost their partner to AIDS The three are HIV positive and the story takes place at a time when there was no treatment option Nothing to stop the virus replication It s only a matter of time before AIDS breaks out At that time, they were only able to treat the opportunistic infections NotWhen the first Kaposi lesions became visible, it was as if AIDS victims were lepers.The three men take very different paths And we accompany the three a bit on their way Very worth reading.This picture is for Sonny I am immediately distrustful of a novel in which its central character doesn t really have to worry about money or work and ends up with someone richer andattractive than anyone who ll ever read this blog This man, named Mark in this novel, is there in the opening scene Mark s in television, says Steven, our protagonist Major heartthrob Eats gorgeous men for breakfast 10 And because this is a gay novel it s clear to everyone that we ll need to see this man naked, and hopefully I am immediately distrustful of a novel in which its central character doesn t really have to worry about money or work and ends up with someone richer andattractive than anyone who ll ever read this blog This man, named Mark in this novel, is there in the opening scene Mark s in television, says Steven, our protagonist Major heartthrob Eats gorgeous men for breakfast 10 And because this is a gay novel it s clear to everyone that we ll need to see this man naked, and hopefully let our stand in have hot sex with him And lo And behold.What Afterlife is then, immediately, is a fantasy And yes, it s an important fantasy, at a time when gay men had watched so many of their friends and lovers die, one after another, from AIDS that a fantasy I m sure was a small but welcome consolation And I have nothing wrong with fantasies Angels in America bills itself as a gay fantasia on national themes and I think I wouldn t have had a problem with Monette s novel if it made a similar move at the beginning Instead it makes these weak attempts at history and contextualization One character becomes a mild terrorist, calling in bomb threats to homophobic institutions The novel satirizes I think or maybe we re meant to honor it the new age culture of California in the 80s 90s If the central plot arc wasn t such a fairy tale I could have taken these sideplots seriously.The writing, also, is uneven I was going to say bad, because, like For Steven a travel agent travel was over He d become a walking bad advertisement, like a misspelled sandwich board 9 But then Monette surprises me with these moment of sharp observation At a meeting for AIDS survivors Everyone seemed to be taking something different and was armed with newsletters and offprints, fierce as an eighth grade science project 75.It s a great line, because so honest And so why the phoniness in which all his characters are weakly dressed And why did Richard McCann call it an achievement of the imagination in USA Today This novel poignant, wry, and beautifully written lets us in on what it felt like to be a gay man in the 80s, when the AIDS epidemic started devouring young lives The three principle characters have all lost their lovers, and have come together to support each other Each of them is also living with a death sentence They are all riveting characters, and they handle the situation very differently One seeks revenge on an uncaring society, one seeks spiritual redemption, and one tries again This novel poignant, wry, and beautifully written lets us in on what it felt like to be a gay man in the 80s, when the AIDS epidemic started devouring young lives The three principle characters have all lost their lovers, and have come together to support each other Each of them is also living with a death sentence They are all riveting characters, and they handle the situation very differently One seeks revenge on an uncaring society, one seeks spiritual redemption, and one tries again most terrifyingly for love This is a powerful novel, well worth reading I was so enraptured by Becoming a Man and Borrowed Time, that I moved right into Monette s fiction, starting with his first book, and then ground to a halt This is his first fiction work I ve picked up since then, I m saving Last Watch of the Night for some unknown time in the future where I can savour it.Monette s writing got better with AIDS, the books had a focus and that trend continues here, though for much of the first half of the book he struggles to overcome his old writing style, that I was so enraptured by Becoming a Man and Borrowed Time, that I moved right into Monette s fiction, starting with his first book, and then ground to a halt This is his first fiction work I ve picked up since then, I m saving Last Watch of the Night for some unknown time in the future where I can savour it.Monette s writing got better with AIDS, the books had a focus and that trend continues here, though for much of the first half of the book he struggles to overcome his old writing style, that of a privileged man writing from a pedestal and casting only half an eye at his subjects Its especially difficult to write a book with all men, all white gay men, and be able to keep the characters separate One supposes they re all friends due to their similarities but for the first half of the book I had no idea who was who, and I suppose I didn t really care The second half of the book the action picks up and at the same time the story becomesfocused on just two people, rather than the confusing eight at the beginning, and the book became good I was surprised, I was all set to give it a negative review but I m glad I stuck with it.The book details a life lived in between the falling bombs of the AIDS epidemic There is desperation, such as when a character called the Federal Building, demanding release of a drug that people were smuggling in from China I understand the frustration, but actions like this led to the over prescribing of AZT and the death of early patients.As the novel continues Monette loses most of his detachment from the characters and once they become real this novel becomes the heart felt AIDS crisis snap shot it should be It just takes a little too long to get there This book strikes major and minor chords in me I don t have much in common with any one character, but I understand watching friends wither and die, even getting impatient for the end to come I admire how deftly Monette shifts among points of view And for all the moments that make me smile, there s a sense of hopelessness that never goes away and ends up dominating by the end I ve read this book before, and I m sure I ll read it again, but for now, I m worn out and ready to let go. Afterlife is a haunting and unforgettable story of men facing loss and seeking love, movingly capturing the moment in the s when the AIDS epidemic was completely devastating the American gay community Here, National Book Award winner Paul Monette depicts three men of various economic and social backgrounds, all with one thing in common They are widowers, in a way, and all of their lovers died of AIDS in an LA hospital within a week of one anotherSteven, Sonny, and Dell meet weekly to discuss how to go on with their lives despite the hanging sword of being HIV positive One tries to find a semblance of normalcy one rebels openly against the disease, choosing to treat his body as a temple that he can consecrate and desecrate at will and one throws himself into fierce political activism No matter what path each one takes, they are all searching for one thing a way to live and love again Afterlife finds Paul Monette at his most autobiographical, portraying men in a situation that he himself experienced, and one that he described to critical acclaim in the award winning Borrowed Time An AIDS Memoir Story of three AIDS widows who are also doomed HIV Good, yet somehow left me empty the author s purpose. Strengths This book is an affective critique of a particular kind of mainstreamed gay life, and occupies well the positionalities and impossibilities of love in a time of grief and foreclosed possibility Weaknesses It s casually racist in a very blas late 1980s way.The ending is drawn out for an additional 20 30 pages.The writing itself is not particularly well crafted, but this may be a skewering of the excessive pastiche that marks, again, this era.


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