September #127 : The Mourning Show - by Lucile Scott

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Back to School

The Money Pit

Retro Virus


Old School

“C” Ya In Bed

Kick in the Butt

Dear Dairy

Magnum PIs: Protease inhibitor bulletin

Code Blueberry

The Porn Identity

Bye George!

Good, Dirty Fun

Deposit Slip

Blood Sport

United We Fall

U.S. Steal

A Capitol Punishment?

The Mourning Show


Hurts So Good

Editor’s Letter-Septmeber 2006

Mailbox-September 2006

Catch of the Month-September 2006

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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September 2006

The Mourning Show

by Lucile Scott

A novelist moves from ’70s sex to HIV

Chasing a hot young man through the sexual liberation and debauchery of pre-AIDS New York, Andrew Holleran’s iconic gay novel Dancer From the Dance hit shelves in 1978. Now, 25 years into the epidemic, Holleran’s Grief (Hyperion; $19.95) stars an unnamed narrator who has watched his friends die of AIDS. While this next installment may seem sadly logical—“It’s the bookend to Dancer,” says Holleran—the narrator’s grief counselor, Abraham Lincoln’s widow, doesn’t. Having found a book of letters that Mary Todd Lincoln wrote after her husband’s death, the gay narrator, who never specifies his HIV status, spends the novella comparing her grief and inability to move on to his own. (He’s just lost his mom too.)

In vivid, melancholic sentences, Holleran, who is HIV negative, suggests that just as people in America may want to forget positive people and HIV, Mrs. Lincoln became another living reminder of an inconvenient national tragedy. “Modern American culture is all about trying to bulldoze over something and move on blindly,” says Holleran, 61. “But people are still dying of AIDS, and people are still dealing with the deaths of those who have already died.”  

The work is the latest entry in a grief literature boomlet, led by The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion’s journal of her husband’s death from a heart attack and her daughter’s ultimately fatal illness. But Holleran’s source material had a resonance all its own. “We will never know,” he says, “how my generation of gay men would have evolved without AIDS.”

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