Monopolies of Loss

Overview

'Writing fiction about Aids calls for a sustained effort of adjustment, but then so does everything else to do with the epidemic.' So writes Adam Mars-Jones in his introduction to this brave and astonishing book, whose eloquence confers a subtle human dimension on an immense, often faceless crisis. In stories that unfold quietly, with familiarity and domesticity, he assembles a remarkable cast of characters - all of whom are dealing, either peripherally or explicitly, with the central disease of our time. Mars-Jones conveys the horrors of life
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Overview

'Writing fiction about Aids calls for a sustained effort of adjustment, but then so does everything else to do with the epidemic.' So writes Adam Mars-Jones in his introduction to this brave and astonishing book, whose eloquence confers a subtle human dimension on an immense, often faceless crisis. In stories that unfold quietly, with familiarity and domesticity, he assembles a remarkable cast of characters - all of whom are dealing, either peripherally or explicitly, with the central disease of our time. Mars-Jones conveys the horrors of life during the plague through subversive fiction that aims to destroy the truly unconscionable notion of gay life as alien or other. Here are people - patients, lovers, even strangers - whom we recognize as our own, as family and friends. 'Slim' is a portrait of a volunteer 'buddy'- young, healthy, simple - as seen by the wracked man he accompanies. In 'An Executor' we hear the ruminations of a man appointed to remove suspicious garments from a dying friend's closet, lest his grieving parents be shocked. Or in 'Summer Lightning,' a bittersweet story of an unexpected death that comes while two friends sunbathe at the beach. An everyday accident that shatters a couple's carefully suspended brooding on mortality. A man's tape-recorded thoughts, in his last days, about the pleasures of his lovers, the advice of the hospital, and the slow dream-time he has fallen into: 'Imagination is the last thing to fail me.'. Each of these stories possesses its own startling force; their combined impact in this collection is staggering. As The Guardian has written, 'Adam Mars-Jones is the Wilfrid Owen of the new long-drawn and deadly trench warfare . . . He describes and exemplifies courage, tenderness and defiance.'.
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Editorial Reviews

Patrick Gale
These short stories are moving testaments, not to a specific disease but to our fragile social defences against the ineluctability of death...Besides, there are numerous felicities here beyond (or perhaps in spite of) the politically-correct subject matter. Mars-Jones has a meticulous eye.- Weekend Telegraph
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679744153
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage International ed
  • Pages: 250

Table of Contents

Introduction: Monopolies of Loss 1
Slim 9
An Executor 19
A Small Spade 63
The Brake 111
Summer Lightning 149
Remission 165
Bears in Mourning 189
Baby Clutch 201
The Changes of Those Terrible Years 227
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