Writer Paul Monette's first-person account of living through his lover Roger's last nineteen months with AIDS, from diagnosis to death (1986), told in language that is poetic and highly articulate. The couple faces not only progressive physical degeneration (Monette calls time with AIDS a "minefield") but also the agonizing issues of truthtelling with their families, friends gay and straight, and the world, in "the double closet of the war."

Fact-finding is a constant obsession in this story, not only about who is positive and who knows, but also in the rapidly-changing medical arena, where through Monette's extraordinary efforts Roger becomes the first person west of the Mississippi to be put on the drug, AZT. Monette is so devoted a caregiver that he often loses himself--a problem he solves in part by turning to the subject of AIDS as a writer.


This is a wrenchingly moving tale of love and heroism in the face of the ravages of AIDS. Monette writes forthrightly and in detail about the horrors and challenges that filled his and Roger's life together. Yet long after a reader forgets the medical and social details that filled their days, Monette's images linger: time as a minefield; bravely but sadly lying to parents and friends; the double vision of the very ill; life with AIDS as "life on the moon"; AIDS as tsunami or shattering earthquake ("Above 8.5, an earthquake is said to liquefy the earth."); the uselessness of conventional calendars; Monette's impatience with anyone who does not have AIDS; his eclipsed-caregiver's lack of emotional response when he discovers that he himself is HIV-positive; and finally, the embrace of Socrates' model of heroism, to face death "without any lies."


First published: 1988 (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich).


Avon Books

Place Published

New York



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